Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Akiko Kurose Interview II
Narrator: Akiko Kurose
Interviewer: Alice Ito
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: December 2 & 3, 1997
Densho ID: denshovh-kakiko-02-0021

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AI: So then, when did you start deciding to formally...

AK: Oh, and then, our community got very much involved in the Head Start program. We were very concerned that there were a lot of kids that were just like, being ignored or... what would you say? Not being cared for properly. And so a group of us parents in this neighborhood, we're the ones that started Head Start, said, let's start a little school where the kids, we could start a preschool for these kids so they could learn to be with each other and have fun. And so we started recruiting, well, not recruiting, we started gathering all the kids in the neighborhood, and we had a couple portables that we got from the school district and we started our own school.

AI: When was that, when did that start?

AK: This was, golly, what year was that... I don't know. And then, Carol Richman -- who's a very bright woman, lives in the neighborhood -- wrote a grant and that was the first grant we got for operating Head Start.

AI: In maybe, the early '70s?

AK: Yes, if not... early '70s, late '60s. Yeah, late '60s. Yeah.

AI: So you were actually already involved in setting up the Head Start preschool, you were...

AK: And I was a volunteer driver, food person, you know, everything. We did everything. It was fun, you know. And then, Dorothy Hollingsworth... then we got established as a regular Head Start school. We got the school district to buy into it. There was a lot of debates going on about Birider & Englemann and the Wykirk's cognitive curriculum and what kind of curriculum should we use with students. So there was the Distar program, which was kind of like the pressure cooker type of drilling of students. So then, I was continuing to take all those classes and I realized the cognitive curriculum was so much more exciting, it was hands-on discovery rather that this rote learning. Now, studies have shown that Birider & Englemann kind of Distar program, does make gains for especially the lower income kids. But they don't retain those gains. So I felt like it's... and it's not as exciting. I think we insult them when we're trying to tell them, "What is this? This is a cup..." It doesn't matter how it's said, better that you interact and find things and work with science and whatever. So that was the area I went into, that I, I chose the cognitive curriculum with Dave Wykirk. He's from Ipsilanti, Michigan. And he got grants and things to work with some of the Head Start programs. And so...

AI: So, did you get a chance to work with him directly? You did?

AK: Yes. And so then I was hired as one of his consultants and so I went back to Ipsilanti, Michigan to do the workshops, come back. It was really exciting.

AI: So eventually you began consulting to other schools that were starting up their Head Start programs.

AK: Well, then I just worked with the Seattle Public Schools. So I did, I studied and did research on the different types of programs.

AI: What were some of your main goals in working with the Seattle public schools at that point?

AK: Well, I... it was just kind of a transition from being a volunteer and working with the Head Start and then getting into the public school system.

<End Segment 21> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.