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Greater push for early education

12:11 AM, Feb 25, 2013   |    comments
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WYOMING, Mich. (WZZM) -- Michigan's governor and the president are touting a greater focus on early education.

At La Escuelita, the little school is making a big difference in the hispanic community.

The bilingual program, inside San Juan Diego Academy, was recently rolled out by the Hispanic Center of West Michigan. The program already has a waiting list as parents like Sarah Williams rushed to take advantage of the opportunity to enroll her four year old daughter. 

Williams says, "We are very excited about the program. It's a great opportunity for us. For parents it's great for us to have our children in a program that's bilingual. It's free, and the curriculum is just excellent." 

The CEO of the Hispanic Center of West Michigan says minority populations are greatly underserved.

Martha Gonzalez-Cortez says, "The sad reality for us is, in the City of Grand Rapids and Kent County we don't have enough available programming for all of the children we have in our community in the zero through five spectrum that need services. The programming just isn't available."

She says it's about more than 1,2,3's and a,b,c's, it's about getting students ready for kindergarten-- as well as parents who often deal with cultural barriers.

Williams herself is bilingual and says having her daughter in a class where both Spanish and English are spoken has helped her make strides already.

"She likes the routine, because that's what they're helping them understand, that there's a routine. She knows her numbers in Spanish and English." 

Having that knowledge base will help her daughter hit the ground running in kindergarten.

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