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The future is now: Guadalupe Center pre-kindergarten graduates prepare for next step in educational journey

The future is now: Guadalupe Center pre-kindergarten graduates prepare for next step in educational journey

The future is now: Guadalupe Center pre-kindergarten graduates prepare for next step in educational journey


IMMOKALEE, Fla. (May 15, 2024) – With summer break on the horizon, more than 100 soon-to-be kindergartners in Immokalee will benefit from an academic head start in the coming school year after completing the first step in their educational journeys.

Those 104 students – graduates of Guadalupe Center’s Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) program – will enroll in the fall at Highlands, Pinecrest, Village Oaks, Lake Trafford and Eden Park elementary schools, as well as Immokalee Community School.

Thanks to their time in the VPK classrooms – and with a solid foundation in English and the strong social and emotional skills needed for the school environment – those students can expect a bright academic future.

“Research shows that pre-kindergarten is a critically important period of development, as children transform into students,” said Guadalupe Center President and CEO Dawn Montecalvo. “The pandemic-driven learning loss of recent years, along with its reduced opportunities for socialization, makes this academic head start that much more critical.”

In early May, clad in pint-sized caps and gowns in their class colors of red, blue and green, those 100-plus pre-kindergarteners were honored at three Guadalupe Center graduation ceremonies.

The pre-K graduation ceremonies for six classes were held at the van Otterloo Family Campus for Learning in Immokalee, which opened in spring 2022.

Guadalupe Center’s nationally accredited Early Childhood Education Program serves children from six weeks through five years old. Historically, more than 95% of children completing Guadalupe Center’s pre-kindergarten program exceed Collier County’s kindergarten readiness standards.

Immokalee has long faced a shortage of seats in high-quality early learning programs, and Guadalupe Center’s ambitious expansion has increased access to education for families in the community.

Guadalupe Center’s Early Childhood Education Program is accredited through the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and Accredited Professional Preschool Learning Environment (APPLE). It also maintains a five-star rating from the Early Learning Coalition of Southwest Florida and is designated as a Gold Seal Quality Care Program by the Florida Department of Children and Families.

About Guadalupe Center
Established in 1984, Guadalupe Center provides high-quality, life-changing educational programs to more than 1,950 students annually. Recognized nationally as a model for nonprofits serving students from low-income, rural communities, Guadalupe Center is creating a cycle of prosperity through education for students and families in Immokalee. The organization offers three highly successful programs – the nationally accredited Early Childhood Education Program, After-school Tutoring & Summer Enrichment Program and college-preparatory Tutor Corps Program – that foster personal and academic success leading to economic independence. Platinum-rated by GuideStar, Guadalupe Center is generously supported by private donors, philanthropic organizations and community partners. For more information, please visit or call 239-657-7711.

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