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The Rhode Island Spotlight Weekly Feature

Bridging the Gap

During the dog days of summer, when most kids are thinking about anything but school, dozens of soon-to-be Providence kindergartners are getting a jump start on the academic year - part of a program designed to help those who have not had the benefits of pre-school. Jim Hummel takes us inside a program that has shown impressive results.


The official start of kindergarten is still three weeks away but on a steamy day in early August the kids inside this Providence elementary school are getting a jump start to the school year.
``Let's see if he can find the letter `B' and circle it.''
Pat Conti, a first-grade teacher during the year, is taking up temporary residence in a kindergarten room on the first floor of the Young/Woods Elementary School in South Providence.
 She and her class are there for a summer program called Kids Bridge.
``There's Thursday and there's Friday and then there's Saturday. Days of the week....''
The program is run by Inspiring Minds, a non-profit education support organization for the Providence School Department. Inspiring Minds trains hundreds of volunteer tutors who help throughout the academic year.
The summer classes - a joint program between Inspiring Minds and the School Department - began five years ago with one school. It now enrolls 180 children spread across five elementary schools in the city. The program runs in the morning for four weeks and focuses on children kids who have not had the benefit of pre-school. 

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