JumpstartJumpstart at Boston University partners university students with young children in South End preschools to deliver an innovative early learning program to the children. Jumpstart provides a high-quality, comprehensive program that focuses on the development of the child, their family, and the university student serving with this national organization as an AmeriCorps member. Through these program areas—school success, family involvement, and future teachers—Jumpstart works to create an environment of lifelong learning for children.

The Jumpstart at Boston University Program is made up of highly trained, motivated, and passionate university students who are paired with preschool children in caring and supportive one-to-one relationships. In partnership with Boston University’s Wheelock College of Education & Human Development, university students mentor 3-to-5-year-old children in preschool classes at three preschools in Boston’s South End neighborhood. Students read stories, sing songs, and play games that support young children’s language and literacy development and school readiness.


The need for Jumpstart is tremendous among young children, particularly those living in low-income communities with limited educational access. Many children, especially those living in high-poverty urban neighborhoods, are ready to learn, but they are not ready to succeed in school. By the time they are in first grade, children in low-income families have gained 5,000-word vocabularies. In contrast, children from more affluent families enter school with 20,000-word vocabularies. The result is that many young children enter poised for failure before their school career has even begun.

Jumpstart is an early childhood development program that seeks to address these challenges. The program was founded in 1993 at Yale University and, since then, has been one of the fastest-growing nonprofits in the country. The high-quality, comprehensive program focuses on the development of the children, their families, and the university students who serve with this national organization. In fall 2007, through the Wheelock College of Education & Human Development, Boston University welcomed Jumpstart to campus.

For general information about the Jumpstart national program, visit the Jumpstart website.

What You Can Do

Do you believe that every child enters the world with potential and deserves the resources and support necessary to succeed in school and in life? Join Jumpstart and make that happen! Applications can be found online here!

Program Benefits:

  • Opportunity to mentor and work with remarkable, enthusiastic, bright, four-year-old children.
  • Potential to earn your Work Study Award during your term of service.
  • Earn a $1,230 AmeriCorps Educational Award upon completion of 300 hours of service.
  • Receive extensive training and professional development in the field of early childhood education.
  • Gain a unique opportunity to join a national network of individuals serving young children.
  • Work with amazing people, learn from a child, play fun games, and enjoy your time while answering a great need in our community.

Program Commitments

Each Corps member is partnered with a small group of children with whom they will work with twice a week for two hours each session. Corps members also gain meaningful insight into early childhood education by assisting in the classroom of their partner children each week. Corps members commit to serve part-time, 12–14 hours per week, during the school year.

Time commitment breakdown:

  • Jumpstart sessions with team and partner children: 4 hours per week (two afternoons a week for two hours each).
  • Team Planning Meetings, which include planning, reflection, and/or training: 2–3 hours per week.
  • Classroom Assistance Time in preschool classroom during the regular school day: 3–4 hours per week.
  • Spring semester 2-credit service-learning course in the Wheelock College of Education & Human Development focusing on early childhood best practices, literacy development, and educational justice.

Apply now

Contact Jumpstart

Kerry Isakson
Jumpstart at Boston University
BU Wheelock College of Education & Human Development, Room 507
Email at kisakson@bu.edu or call at 617-358-3273
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