Preschools on Wheels gets matching grants for Gus and The Sunshine Bus |

Preschools on Wheels gets matching grants for Gus and The Sunshine Bus

Silt mothers of The Sunshine Bus preschoolers and their children pose for a photo. The Preschools on Wheels program recently received two grants to continue operating two retrofitted school buses, equipped with learning centers that help children develop skills necessary to be successful in kindergarten.
Contributed Photo |

Summer Celebration for Gus the Bus and the Sunshine Bus preschoolers and their families

Where: Centennial Park, Rifle

When: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, June 26

Refreshments, live music and a performance and award ceremony will make for a celebratory evening.

Information: Katie Mackley, (970) 319-8901, or Jayne Poss, (970) 948-1683.

Columbine Ford in Rifle and the Mascotte family have contributed $10,000 each to support the annual operating expenses for Gus the Bus and The Sunshine Bus, part of the Preschools on Wheels program.

“We are delighted to be the recipient of a $20,000 matching grant that will match local donations to Gus the Bus and The Sunshine Bus to build a broad base of community support for this impactful program,” said Tamara Tormohlen, Aspen Community Foundation executive director.

“Research has shown that children who attend quality preschool — regardless of background or personal circumstances — are more likely to have the skills that prepare them to learn, read and succeed in school ­— and succeed in life,” added Jimmy Breslin of Columbine Ford. “We care about these kids and believe we can make a significant difference in their lives with the Preschools on Wheels program.”

The program will enter its third year this fall with the two buses delivering quality preschool learning to 3-, 4- and 5-year-old children who would not otherwise receive these services and are at risk of starting school unprepared. The buses each serve 60 children living in Rifle, Silt and New Castle. This fall, 50 of them will enter Garfield School District Re-2 kindergarten ready to learn.

The children’s year-end assessment reflects impressive results in meeting milestones in social, emotional, language, literacy and cognitive skills.

“Gus the Bus and The Sunshine Bus preschoolers showed tremendous growth, on par with comparable children participating in the Re-2 district’s traditional preschool program,” said Program Coordinator Jayne Poss. “Quality preschool is one of the most effective ways to improve the educational and life outcomes of young children.”

Gus and Sunshine are retrofitted school buses, equipped with learning centers that help children develop skills necessary to be successful in kindergarten and become life-long learners. Each week of the school year, Gus and Sunshine visit eight neighborhoods in Rifle, Silt and New Castle, where four early childhood teachers provide a literacy-rich educational experience to children and support families with training and resources so they can be actively engaged in their child’s learning.

A partnership project between the Aspen Community Foundation and the Re-2 district, the Preschools on Wheels program is a signature project of the foundation’s Cradle-to-Career initiative, bringing nonprofit groups, business, schools, government and philanthropy together to ensure all of the region’s 22,000 children are ready for kindergarten and graduate from high school ready for college or career.

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