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Without options for preschool in Denver, one mom deals with unknown, offers to help

With preschool classes on hold due to COVID-19, a mom, who is also a teacher, started an online class to help young students stay engaged with learning.

DENVER — Trying to figure out what to do with your preschoolers when there is no preschool is a challenge for parents in Denver like Jenn Pressman.

"With the uncertainty of not knowing at what capacity they'll be able to do that as the parent, I'm kind of left with trying to figure that out," Pressman said.

Her kids attend Valdez Elementary School in Denver right next to Denver North High School. Valdez, like all Denver Public Schools, is not offering any Early Childhood Education in-person or online because of COVID-19 until at least September 8 and possibly longer. 

This has parents feeling lost.

"I know that's true for my low-income families and my Latino families, but you know, I also know affluent families, you know, who are just as lost," Pressman said.

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So, this parent, who is also a teacher, started Programa Familiar de Lenguaje which is a free online class offered four-days-a-week to preschool families to help them get through these times without in-person classes for younger kids, a group which Pressman said tends to struggle with remote learning.

"A lot of it's teaching songs and repetition and games so that my goal is that the parents hear these songs so many times that they then make their way into their routines at home," Pressman said.

She said that studies show the number of words kids learn before kindergarten impacts how well they succeed in school in the long term.

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"Right now, what I want to be doing with my program is empowering parents to be their kid's first teacher," Pressman said.

Pressman wants to help all families, especially the ones who cannot afford other options, to be able to help their preschooler during the time when there's no preschool.

"I want it to feel something that all parents can do," Pressman said.

Programa Familiar de Lenguaje is funded by a grant from a philanthropic organization called the Buell Foundation. If you want to find out more about Pressman's program, click here: https://www.facebook.com/ProgramaFamiliardeLenguaje/

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