Mayor Robert Garcia announced last week a new program intended to help Long Beach families connect with their preschool to kindergarten-aged scholars.

ReadyRosie, a digital program that emphasizes early educational development and promotes kindergarten readiness, is available for Long Beach families with students enrolled in the school district to try out for free. 

"The aim is to bridge the gaps between home learning and school learning," Karissa Selvester, executive director at the Mayor's Fund for Education, said. "Teachers can extend some of their reach beyond the classroom, and parents can have a resource on hand that connects them to their child's learning."

Parents who sign up for the program will receive educational videos and document playlists on their mobile phones every week catered to their youngsters.

Educational content ranges from videos and activities that help children grow their language skills to math content to help teach the youngsters how to count numbers. Content is available in English and Spanish and to address the large Cambodian population, content is currently being developed in Khmer, Selvester added.

But ReadyRosie is more than an academic tool, she said. The content provided is also intended to help families grow together through nurture-centered activities.

"This program is unique because it includes so many resources from early childhood education professionals on different subjects," she said. "The content covers things from behavioral issues to learning disabilities curated from experts in those fields around the country."

To sign up, parents are encouraged to reach out to their child's teacher, as schools throughout the district will be announcing their curated ReadyRosie content to parents at different times.

"Educators can customize the content to fit what their students are learning this week or this month," Selvester added. "One week, the content may be more catered toward language, while the next week the content may be more catered to topics of empathy and feeling."

And for families who have youngsters who are not enrolled in preschool, Long Beach libraries will have ReadyRosie on hand.

"Not everyone is able to enroll their kids in preschool, and that was considered when incorporating this program within the district," Selvester said. "The reason we wanted to partner with libraries is we understand there is an unmet need for children not enrolled, and we wanted to make sure that families have access to this regardless if they are in preschool or not."

Parents can sign up for a two-week trial at ReadyRosie.com, but its recommended to reach out to their child's school or library because LBUSD has free access for one year thanks to a sponsorship from Boeing.

"It is new partnerships like this one that really get me excited, both as a parent and as a Boeing employee," Vanessa Smith, community investor at Boeing, said. "Through this program, we are able to provide parents and caregivers easy-to-access tools that harness our little one's natural curiosity from day one." 

When the year is up, Selvester said that she isn't sure if the program will continue as a free tool for families, but she said that the Mayor's Fund for Education will seek sponsors and raise money if they see measurable progress.

"I’m optimistic," she said. "But I don't know if this is something we can expand to Long Beach families every year, but it's worthwhile, so we're going to try."

To learn more, go to mayorsfundfored.org/readyrosie/.

Interested teachers should email info@mayorsfundfored.org for information about using the ReadyRosie program in their classroom.

Stephanie Stutzman can be reached at sstutzman@gazettes.com.

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