At the age of 5, a child has a lot of unexplored world out there to discover.
For the young students in the Jumpstart program, a Glynn County Schools pre-kindergarten program that serves rising kindergarteners with little or no prior education experience, a day full of STEAM activities on Friday opened the door to many new discoveries.
At one table, students scrubbed pennies using a concoction of vinegar and salt, in a demonstration of how a chemical reaction can transform a grubby penny into a shiny one.
Another group cut the “hair” of their rye grass plants, which they grew themselves, and glued oversized eye and mouth stickers onto the pots.
Jumpstart’s teachers dedicated the school day to STEAM — which stands for science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics — programs to engage their students in the subjects and to spark their interests in learning, said Kalee Gunter, assistant principal of Jumpstart.
“It activates that high-order thinking, where they’re the ones that are in control with their learning,” Gunter said. “It’s inquiry based … It’s just letting them be involved in their learning.”
Later that day, the students made ice cream and slime (separately), constructed three-dimensional shapes using putty and straws and created chalk art outside.
Jumpstart aims to prepare students without much preschool experience for their kindergarten year, in order to prevent students from falling behind their peers. The curriculum focuses on social-emotional education, teaching the students how to control their emotions and how to behave in a school setting, along with fundamentals like reading and writing.
On a field trip to see “The Emoji Movie” earlier this week, Gunter said she was impressed by the progress she saw in the students’ self-control.
“These are babies that have never been to school before,” she said. “They’ve never been asked to sit down before or walk in a line, and then yesterday we went to the movies … they all, every single one of them, sat, talked quietly at an appropriate voice level and were able to wait for the movie to begin.”
The Jumpstart program will wrap up next week with graduation on July 20.