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Meet the 2017 Finalists: WA State Association of Head Start and ECEAP

Posted by Jaimisa Gourley

Our Mission: The Early Learning Chess Initiative, from the WSA of Head Start and ECEAP, uses the game of chess to teach Washington State’s low income preschool children the necessary math skills as well as social and emotional skills needed to be kindergarten ready.

What inspires you most about the work you do? We are dedicated to giving every child the opportunity to live up to his or her fullest potential. It’s truly amazing to see the way chess engages young minds, gets them thinking, taking turns, developing focus and counting the chess pieces all while they are having fun learning and playing chess. Plus, the great feedback we are hearing from the teachers and directors is energizing as we see early positive results.

What’s next for your organization?  We hope to engage more early learning providers across the state of Washington and even nationally. Head Start programs across the country have learned about our work and have already expressed an interest in participating in this cutting edge initiative.

What have you learned from the SVP Fast Pitch Process so far? The SVP Fast Pitch Process is incredibly rewarding. Through this process we have learned to hone our pitch, to think carefully about every word and slide, and have developed a much greater appreciation for the work it takes to develop a succinct, powerful pitch. Our coaches have been extremely helpful and have provided a unique perspective that has enhanced our project. It’s also been interesting meeting other innovators who are equally passionate about the projects they are working on.

What are you most excited about on October 24th? We really are excited to share with the larger SVP community and supporters the potential positive social impact of our work that can easily scale to reach low-income preschoolers nationwide.

WEBSITE: www.wsaheadstarteceap.com

Check out the full list of finalists here. Join us at the Final Showdown on 10/24!

Photo credit: Lisa Bontje

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