Parenting

What Every Child Needs to Learn

Did you know…

During a recent visit to Chattanooga, Dr. Ron Ferguson, adjunct lecturer in public policy at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), and faculty director of the Achievement Gap Initiative (AGI) at Harvard, shared these facts as he talked about an initiative he launched in Boston. His goal is to help parents engage with their young children and reduce the skill gaps that become apparent between children from different socioeconomic backgrounds by age 3.

“Looking at the research, I realized a lot of the gaps we struggle to address once children are older are evident by the age of 2,” says Ferguson.  “We know we are never going to reach everybody through standard programs because capacity is limited, but imagine what could happen if everybody in the community felt a sense of ownership to do their part in helping children thrive.”

The initiative focuses on five evidence-based parenting and caregiving principles which are scientifically proven ways to promote brain development in young children.  Moreover, the initiative is designed so every parent, caregiver, family member, friend or citizen can use and share it.  Here are the principles:

Research shows this type of support for early brain growth is a key to stimulating the start in life that all infants and toddlers deserve. It is also the foundation of kindergarten readiness.

Imagine what the greater Chattanooga region would be like in 2026 if, as a community, everyone practiced these caregiving principles with the children in their sphere of influence. In the meantime, plans are already in the works to reach as many families as possible.  The great thing is, everybody can be part of this initiative to close the achievement gap and help all of our kids get off to a great start.

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