I had a great opportunity last week to attend the PNC Grow Up Great Advisory Council meeting. It’s hard to believe that PNC Grow Up Great is celebrating its 10th anniversary of programming. I wanted to share with you some of the key topics.
- The PNC Foundation joins Sesame StreetTM in helping to bring laughter and learning to young children all over the country with the new campaign ~ “Words are here, there and everywhere”.
- Through Grow Up Great, PNC supports families, educators and community partners to provide innovative opportunities that enhance learning and development in a child’s early years. Two new grant initiatives, reaching children earlier through intensive programs designed to close the vocabulary gap are Save the Children – Early Steps to School Success, Louisville, KY and the 30 Million Words Initiative, Chicago School of Medicine. Ten participating cities (Atlanta, Charlotte, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Detroit, etc.) are also receiving 2 year grants with the focus on vocabulary building.
- Focusing on family engagement PNC Grow Up Great will fund a project in which partners collaborate to promote families awareness of the importance of talking with their children to build vocabulary and help give them the skills parents need to do this effectively. Engaging older siblings, extended family members, and the community at large this program will assist families to develop positive routines and habits that support children’s development of vocabulary and concepts for the long term.
- A new section of the PNC Grow Up Great website – The Lesson Center – will serve as a reliable source for high quality early childhood teaching ideas.
- PNC Grow Up Great sponsored the Guinness World Records attempt of the “Largest Vocabulary Lesson” last Thursday (Oct. 30th). Thirty seven cities, 57 locations and 4,000 children participated in this challenge centered around Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown.
- The conversations about early childhood education have dramatically changed since PNC Grow Up Great was initiated 10 years ago. There is no longer a conversation about why. Instead the conversation centers around access with quality. In 2004 states were spending $2.5 billion on early childhood education. Today they are spending $5.4 billion. The challenge going forward is to make early childhood education funding a priority and break the cycle of incrementalism.
I am honored to serve on the PNC Grow Up Great Advisory Board and be a part of the movement to prepare America’s youngest children for great things in school and life.