STAMFORD, CT – February 24, 2020 – The Stamford Public Education Foundation (SPEF) today announced it has received a $50,000 grant from The Herbert & Nell Singer Foundation in support of its Summer Start program. Summer Start is a five-week, half-day program for four- and five-year-old children who have not had the benefit of a formal pre-school experience. In 2019, SPEF’s program served 76 students; for 2020, SPEF anticipates serving 105 students. Early education is critical to a student’s long-term success in school and beyond; studies show a correlation between participation in quality preschool instruction and adolescent and adult academic, social and career success. In Stamford, approximately 20% of the 1,300 children entering kindergarten lack a quality pre-school experience. Working closely with the Stamford Public School district, in July 2017, SPEF launched its Summer Start program for the rising kindergarten population who lacked prior pre-school experience. Now entering its fourth year, the grant from the Herbert & Nell Singer Foundation will allow SPEF to expand its Summer Start program to serve children entering kindergarten plus those who are still a year away. The goal for this 4-year-old population is to work with them over the summer and then help them enroll in a formal pre-school program in the fall. Each year, the beginning of the school year is met with much anticipation by both parents and students, especially those entering kindergarten. For young children who have never been in a structured classroom setting, this new experience can be extremely intimidating. SPEF’s Summer Start Program is a five-week, half-day program for entering kindergarten students who have not attended a formal preschool. The program focuses on helping children become accustomed to a classroom environment in order to have a more successful transition. Summer Start teache social/emotional skills, work habits, and develops literacy and mathematics skills aligned to the Connecticut state standards. The lessons developed by certified teachers are theme-based, hands-on experiences aligned to critical social, literacy, and mathematics preschool standards. For more information about Summer Start and other early childhood program resources, call SPEF at 203-965-7733 or visit https://spefct.org/dt_team/summer-start/. About SPEF: Founded in 1996, the mission of the Stamford Public Education Foundation (SPEF) is to deliver educational programs and resources that elevate student, educator, and parent success by bridging the gap between needs in the Stamford Public Schools and resources in our community. The Foundation strives to enable each and every student in the Stamford Public Schools to graduate high school prepared and inspired to be a productive member of society. For further information, visit www.spefct.org.