Did you know that by age 4 children living in poverty had heard 30 million fewer words than their counterparts in more advantaged families? This finding led Dana Suskind, M.D. to establish the “Thirty Million Words” Initiative to close the achievement gap and give children the best start in life. In this home-based program parents learn to enhance their home language environment utilizing an interactive multimedia curriculum. PNC announced at its recent Grow Up Great 10th anniversary celebration in Chicago, a $19 million initiative supporting early childhood language development. This grant will include a five year longitudal study to determine the effectiveness of the Thirty Million Words initiative by following between 200 – 250 Chicago children from 15 months of age to kindergarten.
In our own state of Pennsylvania the success of every child is one of top economic priorities. Therefore, Pennsylvania established the Early Learning Investment Commission to build a private/public partnership of business leaders to advocate for quality early childhood education investment. We are fortunate to have local entrepreneur Nick Scott, Jr. lending his expertise to the commission. This morning he joined us to celebrate National Week of the Young Child by reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See, by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle to our students. It’s very encouraging to see that our business leaders are acknowledging that the future of our city, state and nation is based upon quality early childhood education.
Please share your ideas on how we can expand the network of business champions who understand the connection between early childhood learning experiences and a strong economy.