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Born Learning: Making everyday moments teaching moments

Excerpted from Fall 2007 edition of Tocqueville Times, a publication of United Way of Metropolitan Dallas

Born Learning Fast Facts

Project goal: Children four and under will increase general early development and develop a better foundation for learning and a successful school career.

Project neighborhoods: the Pleasant Grove area of Dallas (also home to a Destination: Graduation school) and South Dallas (Dixon Circle)

Too often, the youngest members of our community begin school without the assets necessary for success; in fact, kindergarten teachers report that one in three of their students are unprepared to meet the challenges of formal schooling. This disadvantage tends to be even more pronounced in the case of low-income children.

A successful early learning experience sets the stage for a successful secondary school career, and students who do well in school are better positioned to pursue advanced education, obtain higher-wage jobs, and lead strong families.

Three years ago, United Way launched Destination: Graduation, a dropout prevention initiative that focuses on parental involvement, college preparation, and mentoring as strategies to improve our community’s graduation rates (and ultimately, develop a more qualified work force). This year, United Way will take another important step on the journey to improve our young people’s school performance with the launch of Born Learning, an early childhood development initiative created in the same collaborative model as Destination: Graduation.

Parents are a child’s first and most important teacher, but many parents are unaware of the need to create the positive early learning experiences that help a child enter school positioned for success. Born Learning, which targets children aged four and under, will equip parents with the of tools and insight that will empower them to become excellent providers of positive early learning experiences, often by leveraging something as routine as a trip to the grocery store as an opportunity for learning.

“The Born Learning program is a long-term investment in Dallas,” said Susan Hoff, President and CEO of United Way partner ChildCareGroup. “Kids don’t come with instruction manuals, and many parents, especially those challenged by poverty, limited education, or limited English skills, simply don’t know how to interact appropriately with their young children. These children are at risk of beginning school two-three years behind their peers—a lag from which many will never recover. The Born Learning program is designed to give parents the skills and confidence to make sure their children enter school ready to succeed, eliminating much of the 'achievement gap’ before it begins. This little program has the power to change the world!”

Born Learning Strategies for Parents

  • Developing an understanding of the stages of child development.
  • Building strong emotional relationships with their children.
  • Building competence and confidence in parenting skills.
  • Supporting the development of a child’s self-regulation skills and social abilities.
  • Supporting the development of pre-academic skills.
  • Monitoring and supporting their children’s health.
  • Developing awareness of how to access appropriate community resources.

Born Learning is made possible by gifts from AllianceData,The Dallas Foundation, and Centex Corporation.

Our Born Learning Program received great media coverage on Fox 4 News, Natalie Solia reporting . . .click here to view video.

If you would like additional information about this program, please call Stacey Cochran, Program Manager, at 214-905-3521, or click here to send an Email. To download and print a Fact Sheet about Born Learning, click here.

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