Last week I had the honor of attending PNC Grow Up Great’s tenth anniversary in Chicago. This week marks the Week of the Young Child. Both of these events focus public attention on the needs of our children under 5 and their families and recognize the essential role of early childhood programs. In 2004, PNC recognized the importance of these early years and committed $100 million to prepare America’s youngest children to be ready for kindergarten. In the last ten years that commitment grew to $350 million with 2 million children served and 39,000 employees participating.
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) began the “Week of the Young Child” over 40 years ago in recognition that the early childhood years lay the foundation for children success in school and later in life. Today we know that for every dollar spent on high-quality early education, society stands to gain up to $16 in long-term savings. Why? Because we know that children who participate in quality early childhood education are more likely to graduate from high school, avoid drugs and incarceration and go on to own their own homes, cars and savings accounts.
What can you do to support the “Week of the Young Child” and early childhood education?
- Volunteer at the children’s section in the library.
- Read to a young child in your life.
- Make your legislators aware of the importance of early childhood education for the success of our country.
- Host a book club for parents and young children.
- Tutor a child at a local school.
- Check out Sesame Street’s new Muppet, Buzz Word, who is promoting “Words Are Here, There And Everywhere” a bilingual vocabulary program.
- Stop by a PNC branch and pick up a “Words That Help Me Grow” vocabulary tree poster.
- Explore the PNC Grow Up Great website which offers a new online lesson center featuring early education lesson plans.
On Thursday I will share with you information on Thirty Million Words, a multi-million dollar language development initiative supported in part by a $19 million grant from PNC.