We're continuing our Family Focus series with a look at the importance of preschool.
KSEE24 has teamed up with First Five Fresno County for this "Lifecycle of Literacy" series to demonstrate how each stage of life sets a child up to succeed in school.
For this story, we went to F.I.R.M. Literacy Program in Fresno to talk to experts and parents about why preschool is more important than ever where the kids are learning in a preschool setting.
The difference is they have their parents by their side.
"I definitely think it's important to start reading early and I liked the atmosphere being around other moms with kids the same age," said Parent Jennifer Massinger.
Parents are required to stay with their children and take part in a variety of activities such as storytime, playtime and arts and crafts.
"We want the families to really get in their with their kids, do the activities and show them how important it is to read and understand written word," said Program Director Charlotte Miranda who started the literacy program last summer and already has more than 50 kids enrolled.
Families with kids aged 0-5 sign up for a 12-week program. The day's activities are centered around a book that is read aloud. Parents say they already see a difference in their kids.
"She recognizes a lot of letters now. She recognizes books and she's learned to sit in a social setting with other kids," said Tonya Ferdman, whose daughter attends the program.
Some kids here don't have access to preschool. For those who do, it's an extra opportunity to learn.
"The literacy program is just a natural extension of preschool. The two work hand in hand," said one father knows early literacy gives a child the best shot at succeeding in school and that it doesn't stop here. "I believe it starts at home and it starts early."
Here at FIRM, it's all about getting kids the head start they need before heading off to kindergarten.
"Kindergarten is getting so much more advanced. These kids are expected to know so much more, so if we can give them a jump start that's pretty much why we're doing it," said Miranda.
Best of all, the program is free.
In the next Family Focus, we will take a look at just how much harder it is these days and why preschool is really helping kids to prepare them to be successful.
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