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Design Thinking at GCC

The Kindergarten Vocabulary Program

Eliminating the vocabulary gap among low income and affluent children 

Current Project Stage: Prototype 

Over the past decade, income inequality has created an increasingly wide gap between low income and affluent children between the ages of 18 - 36 months. Numerous studies reveal that children raised in upper and middle class families know as many as fifteen thousand more words more than children raised in low income families when beginning school. The home environment, parenting styles, and access to learning resources can be attributed to these income-related gaps in school readiness. A large percentage of low income parents do not finish high school or attend college. Consequently, their children lack exposure to a diverse word bank, as found in upper and middle class families. The vocabulary gap is not the only disadvantage for these young children; an achievement gap also exists between the economic classes. A study conducted by Stanford University states, "5-year-old children of lower socioeconomic status score more than two years behind on standardized language development tests by the time they enter school." 

The Kindergarten Vocabulary Program aims to increase the vocabulary of children from low income families by introducing them to a wide range of developmentally appropriate vocabulary that children will use and practice over time. Working in small groups, Kindergarten Vocabulary Program mentors will - through a series of interactive games - introduce children ages 18 - 48 months to new vocabulary words in a playful and relevant way. 

Next Step: Create pamphlets to promote Kindergarten Vocabulary Program at preschools and elementary schools

Design Studio: Glendale Community College

Student Designer: Aaron Jones

Glendale Community College | 1500 North Verdugo Road, Glendale, California 91208 | Tel: 818.240.1000  
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