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Youngstown preschool summer program begins to give students ‘head start’ for fall

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Federal funding is helping preschoolers at Alta Head Start prepare for their next stepping stone

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – The Alta Head Start program received federal funding to have its preschoolers in summer school.

The funding is being used to get them ready for the upcoming school year since COVID-19 impacted their learning in the spring.

The preschoolers are already back in school for the summer as teachers get them on track and prepare them for their next stepping stone.

“These kids have already been out of the preschool program for three months due to the pandemic. Now we’re going to add another three months in the summer. Let’s see what we can do to kind of get them prepared and ready for kindergarten in a better way,” said Alta CEO Joe Shorokey.

Nothing has changed with the curriculum. The program is operating just as if it were a normal school day.

“What is different is the number of kids we’re working with and the safety precautions that we are taking that normally aren’t nearly as intensive outside of the pandemic,” Shorokey said.

Each classroom usually has up to 20 students, but now it’s only eight students per room. All students have a scheduled time to come in.

“We have someone come out, they temp the child, make sure their temperature is below 100. Then they bring them in and hand them off to the teachers and then they wash hands with them,” said Alta education manager Shelly Burns.

Burns said toys and furniture were taken out of the rooms to give the space needed for social distancing purposes. So far, the transition has run smoothly.

“Well, some of them do come in with a mask and some of them are really OK with it. The first week we basically have been talking about the mask and the importance of washing hands and everything, and they pretty much adjusted,” Burns said.

Shorokey said he’s still not sure what the fall school year will look like, but his goal is to make sure the families feel safe in all that they do.

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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