(Update: Adding video, comments from the Juntos Aprendemos program manager)
REDMOND, Ore. (KTVZ) — At Hugh Hartman Elementary School, parents came with balloons and smiles — so proud of their young graduates. A total of 26 students and 24 parents came together Wednesday evening to mark completion of this year’s Juntos Aprendemos (Together We Learn) preschool program.
The program’s goal is to prepare young Spanish speakers from the ages of 3-5 for kindergarten, while also giving their parents the tools their children need to succeed.
A program of the High Desert Education Service District, Juntos Aprendemos started in 2019 and serves a total of 60 students. There are two locations in Bend, Jewel Elementary School and the Bend La-Pine District Office, along with morning and evening classes at Hugh Hartman Elementary School in Redmond.
“We always say Juntos Aprendemos is a program for families and children who are 3 to 5 years old,” Juntos Apredenmos Program Manager Gabriela Peden said. “I can tell you that it means a lot more to that to a lot of families. We’ve given them access to knowledge that wasn’t there before and opportunities.”
The Together We Learn program recently received funding from the Oregon Community Foundation and Central Oregon Health Council. That money will help the program serve more families in Madras and Jefferson County.
“We have a really exciting part of our work (which) is that after parent participants participate for a year, they’re invited to come in as volunteers,” Peden said. If we’re able to — it always comes down to funding — we try and pay them. So there’s something very beautiful, to watch Latina moms, women who came in as parents and are now working as part of our team.”
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