Alabama looks to continue national leadership in early childhood education with Born Ready movement
Alabama already has boasted the nation’s best pre-k program for the last 13 consecutive years. Now, the state is spearheading a new “movement” so even more of its citizens will benefit from quality early childhood education.
On Tuesday, Governor Kay Ivey and Alabama Secretary of Early Childhood Education Jeana Ross officially announced Born Ready. This statewide movement will focus on raising awareness among Yellowhammer State parents of the importance of early brain development and quality early childhood learning experiences from birth through age five.
Born Ready, funded through a competitive federal grant, was developed through innovative research, as well as focus groups of Alabama parents. The data at the movement’s core shows that 95% of every child’s brain develops in the first five years of life.
This is a key premise of the movement, as children are quite literally “born ready” to learn in this first phase of life, with brain development occurring so rapidly. However, the movement moniker also has another meaning, as parents are naturally equipped to teach their children in their early years.
“Your child is born ready to learn, and you’re born ready to teach,” Ivey said in a statement.
Born Ready will empower parents to spend time with their young children and teach them through basics, like eye contact and the five senses: sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell.
“The Born Ready movement will inspire parents to use everyday events as teaching moments,” Ivey outlined. “Every Alabama child – no matter their geographic location or socioeconomic status — will benefit from this movement, starting in the home and extending to all early childhood education settings.”
The Born Ready website features comprehensive information and easy-to-follow, science-based tips designed to show parents how they can prepare their children from the moment they are born for future success.
“We encourage every Alabama parent to visit the site, use its incredible resources, and take the Born Ready Parent Pledge to show their commitment to helping their children learn and grow as they prepare for school,” Ivey noted.
Ross added, “Our website, BornReady.org, is a game-changing resource for Alabama families. It will provide the resources needed to build successful and contributing citizens for the future.”
The website also informs parents on what to look for in a quality early childhood education, cultivating inquiry and demand for quality in their local community. For the past 13 years, Alabama’s voluntary First Class Pre-K program has been recognized as being of the highest quality in the country. Born Ready seeks to build on that success by providing parents with the information and resources they need to help their children learn and prepare for school and lifelong learning.
Of course, this also means Born Ready is an integral part of Ivey’s “Strong Start, Strong Finish” education initiative. This initiative is focused on Alabama building an education system from early childhood to workforce that helps students succeed in school and after they graduate.
“Born Ready’s goals are to inspire and empower every parent, and to ensure every child reaches their greatest potential,” Ross said.
The state has contracted with Telegraph Creative to implement Born Ready, which will feature digital, radio and billboard advertising in addition to the website.
An introduction video for Born Ready has also been released.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn