Ready for School, Ready for Life

Early childhood development and education are vital to children's quality of life and to the vitality of our community. Scientific findings show that all children are born ready to learn; however, it is what happens between birth and the fifth birthday that largely determines whether or not children succeed in school and succeed in life. Preparing children to be ready to learn saves education, social services and criminal justice dollars, and is simply a smart investment.

Cemala partnered with others to host a breakfast on October 29, 2013 and a rare opportunity to hear from three national experts about how communities can prepare children to be ready to learn and ready to succeed in school.

Smart Start Conference
The National Smart Start Conference, held annually in Greensboro, strengthens the abilities
of more than 1,500 early education professionals serving children in their communities

Mr. David Lawrence, Jr. the former publisher of The Miami Herald, who retired to work in the area of early childhood development and school readiness, spoke eloquently about a community's responsibility to its children. Lawrence leads "The Children's Movement of Florida," aimed at making children the state's top priority for investment and decision-making. He is well known for communicating practical ideas, steps and solutions for businesses, civic leaders, and citizens-at-large to make investments that enhance opportunities for children to succeed in school.

Cemala's partners were the Greensboro Partnership, Joseph M. Bryan Foundation, Cone Health Foundation, Achieve Guilford, and Guilford County Partnership for Children. These collaborators have joined others in addressing next steps for the community.

Dr. Nathan Fox, a leading developmental psychologist and neuroscientist interested in the effects of early experiences on brain and behavioral development, presented a compelling case for the science and the return on investment. He is a member of the Child Mind Institute and Scholar in Residence at the University of Maryland, where he has earned the honor of Distinguished University Professor. For the past 19 years, his research on early brain development has been funded by the National Institute of Health.

The Honorable James B, Hunt, Jr., the longest serving governor of the State of North Carolina, challenged the audience, especially business leaders, to take action in Greensboro and Guilford County.

More Information

View a 40-minute video of the presentation

View an 8-minute summary

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Visit The First 2000 Days to link your company or organization and to learn more about early learning investments essential to America's Future.

Arrange a "Lunch and Learn" or a visit to a childcare facility, call the Guilford County Partnership for Children at 336-274-5437 or email the GC Partnership for Children.

Facts from Ready Nation, a project of America's Alliance

  1. By age three, children of low-income families know only half as many words as children of more advantaged families.
  2. Children who do not get a good start can arrive in kindergarten already 18 months behind.
  3. Children who aren't ready for kindergarten are half as likely to read proficiently by third grade.
  4. Children who are not reading proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school.

Bringing Out the Best
UNCG's Bringing out the Best provides best practice prevention/intervention family-centered, community-based services targeting children birth to five with social, emotional, and/or behavioral challenges.

What Others Have Said

"When we invest in children's first 2,000 days, we create the best outcomes in education, health, and economic prosperity for everyone in North Carolina."  First 2000 Days

"There are only 2,000 days from the time a baby is born to when that child begins kindergarten; during that time 90% of critical brain development occurs." First 2000 Days

"The good news is that we know what to do. Quality early childhood development is quality workforce development. The bad news is we aren't doing it enough. What's worse is that other nations are; and they are pulling ahead of us." ReadyNation, a project of America's Promise Alliance

"The evidence is undeniable. Quality early childhood programs, including early education and home visiting/parent mentoring, will help close the achievement gap, reduce social costs, and increase adult productivity. Investing in these programs, especially for disadvantaged children, is fiscally responsible because they pay for themselves. All children should have access to high-quality early learning programs that prepare them to succeed." ReadyNation, a project of America's Promise Alliance

"Investing in a child's early learning environment is one of the highest yielding investments a community leader can make. The payback comes from ensuring the future workforce is poised for readiness and capable of being life-long learners." Robin Saul, President and Publisher of the News and Record

"Our investment in conveniently located, high-quality childcare and early education programs as a benefit for our employees allows working parents an assurance that their children are in competent hands during their workday. . . The benefit is not just for our employees, but for the organization as well. Meeting and exceeding the needs of our employees frees them up to meet and exceed the needs of our patients and guests." Mandy Eaton, Vice President of Human Resources, Cone Health System

"As a former social worker and business woman, and having served as a county commissioner and as a school board member for many years, I am painfully aware that children's early life experiences determine how they will learn and develop in the future. If children are not socially and developmentally ready for school at five, it is likely that tax dollars will be spent on remedial education programs, on teenage pregnancy prevention, on social services, and sadly, sometimes, on court and prison costs." Dot Kendall Kearns, High Point, NC; Realtor and former social worker, county commissioner, and school board member

"We cannot afford to fail our children, our most dependent population, when they need us the most." Joe Turner, former Chief District Court Judge and Resident Superior Court Judge