SAN DIEGO, CA, October 19, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- South African immigrant and educator Leora Lazarus, better known as Teacher Lee, has turned to the crowd-funding platform indiegogo.com to raise much needed funding for the free preschool program she founded in 2009.---
Funds raised through the crowd-funding campaign will go to improving life-long opportunities for under-served children in San Diego county by supporting the Play-To-Learn free mobile preschool program. The Play-To-Learn program is a fiscally sponsored project of Mission Edge San Diego, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Play-To-Learn targets families looking for a preschool education that emphasizes creativity and curiosity. It is designed to reach everyone, including the 49 percent of San Diego county children who can't afford to attend conventional preschools that cost upwards of $8,000 per year. The unique program brings parents and children together in an interactive educational experience that teaches them to transform every moment of every day into a learning opportunity.
Contributors to the crowd-funding campaign will receive valuable perks including a Parent's Guide to Developmental Learning written by Leora Lazarus. This book serves as a simple primer for parents and caregivers who want to continue the learning experience outside the classroom. Contributors at higher levels will also receive a signed first-edition copy of the Teacher Lee book 'Naughty Norman', currently being illustrated by famed children's artist Trevor Romain, and set for release in 2014. Those interested in contributing will find a link to the indiegogo campaign at TeacherLee.com.
"The indiegogo campaign is really important. A great many of the families that attend Play-To-Learn classes rely on this free resource to help their children get ready for kindergarten...without it their children would start school at a huge disadvantage!," said Teacher Lee.
The success of the Teacher Lee program lies in its dedication to encouraging free play and experimentation instead of relying on more traditional teacher-guided classes. Parents and caregivers are required to attend the sessions with their children since they are an integral part of the Teacher Lee construct. The children move freely through different stations where Teacher Lee instructs the attending adults on the benefits of their child's play and how to bring learning into the home.
"Through books, imaginative play, transportation toys, painting, puppets, puzzles, play-dough, blocks, legos and art, children develop the skills they'll need to be successful in kindergarten. These skills include: letter, number and color recognition; fine and gross motor coordination; spatial awareness; and social skills. All of which set them up for success not just in kindergarten, but for the rest of their lives" said Leon Lazarus, Teacher Lee's husband and partner in Teacher Lee Play-to-Learn.
There is both a short and long-term impact to what Teacher Lee offers. Kindergarten readiness is the immediate goal, and that positively impacts student achievement throughout the child's school career. According to the Committee for Economic Development, "high-quality preschool programs offer societal benefits that far outweigh program costs by improving later education, employment, earnings, and crime outcomes for students who attend preschool."
The Alliance for Quality Education provided statistics that show children who have attended preschool have a 29% better chance of getting into college. A RAND corporation study in 2008 on "The Nature and Quality of Early Care and Education for Preschool Age Children in California" estimated that high-quality preschool for all four-year-olds could result in 730 fewer dropouts, 1000 fewer children held back a grade in school, and 4600 fewer child years of special education in San Diego county alone.
A Chicago study indicated that children without a preschool education are 70% more likely to be arrested for a violent crime before the age of 18 while here in San Diego county, the RAND study estimated that preschool could result in 2150 fewer juvenile petitions.
The Alliance for Quality Education summarized these benefits by stating "every $1 invested in pre-k saves taxpayers up to $7."
"I believe that the major impediment to universal preschool is lack of funding and parent's ability to afford to send their children," said Lazarus. "That's why we started our free preschool program...to reach the 17 percent of San Diego children who live in poverty and others who can't afford it."
Teacher Lee adds, "children play to learn, shouldn't we all learn to play?"
The Play-To-Learn program brings parents and children together in an interactive educational experience that teaches them to transform every moment of every day into a learning opportunity. The success of the Teacher Lee program lies in its dedication to encouraging free play and experimentation instead of relying on more traditional teacher-guided classes. Parents and caregivers are required to attend the sessions with their children since they are an integral part of the Teacher Lee construct. The children move freely through different stations where Teacher Lee instructs the attending adults on the benefits of their child's play and how to bring learning into the home.
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