Today we know more than ever about how young children develop and how important it is to support their learning from an early age. Brain research says that the first five years of life are critical and set the stage for the way a child learns, uses language, solves problems and processes emotions.

What studies are showing is that too many kids—mostly from vulnerable, low-income families—aren’t getting their cognitive needs, much less their emotional ones, met at this early age. As a result, they are showing up to kindergarten behind the curve.

Fast-forward a few years: It’s harder than ever to catch up. Many never do.

In the preconference session at the 2011 Family Philanthropy Conference last weekend, designed and led by Susan Price of the National Center for Family Philanthropy, 70 family foundation peers gathered to share strategies on the education, care, and literacy of children in their early years.

Many of these foundations a similar goal: to meet the needs of their community’s youngest children in order to get them reading—and learning—by the end of third grade.

Why is it so important for kids to read by third grade? Find out more by reading my full post here at the Council on Foundation’s blog:

Or read the full essay I wrote for the National Center for Family Philanthropy, titled Ready to Learn: Family Philanthropy Supports Early Learning and Literacy.

If you have good examples of early education and child care in your community, let’s hear about it.

Showing 3 comments
  • rbs

    I am president of the Jordan Council of International Reading Association. As an organization that promotes reading, we adopted a service project we call “Boardbooks for Babies.” For 10 months our members and their acquaintances donate new board books, and then we package them in cellophane bags and include a letter that shares the importance of reading to children EARLY.

    Last year we donated about 200 books to a new hospital in our community where they can distribute the gift of literacy to new mommies and their babies. This year we are on track to improve that number by 100 or more books. It is a thrill to participate in such a worthwhile project.

    I appreciate your contribution to this cause as well.


  • rbs

    I forgot to include the link to information about our project in West Jordan, Utah. =)

    Go here to learn more:

  • juliemooreonlife

    Thanks for this post. I used to teach children and this was so very important. This is very interesting.