Family life can be chaotic, especially with little ones. United Way gets that and wants to provide connections and resources for parents and families in their community that make it easier to prepare their children for kindergarten. Success By 6 is a multi-strategy, regional United Way initiative with a goal of ensuring all children are prepared for kindergarten.
The United Way Born Learning Academy is one way schools and families can connect long before their child is enrolled in school. Academies use the best of proven tips, tools and resources to help families take a more active role in preparing their children for kindergarten.
“A Born Learning Academy is a series of six workshops for families and children just teaching them about everyday learning throughout the community,” said Gina Byrd, Family Resource Center Director, Dayton Kentucky Schools. “You can learn in the grocery store, you can learn walking down the street pointing to trees and signs and colors, and just basically keeping that line of communication open with your child.”
Founded on an evidence-based curriculum established by early childhood faculty right here in our region at Northern Kentucky University, the Born Learning Academy workshops are led by trained professionals — usually teachers, principals or other education staff — and focus on the following topics:
- Building Relationships
- Building Your Child’s Language Skills
- Nutrition and Health
- How Children Learn
- Routines and Learning on the Go
Amy Carder, a foster mother of four and vice president in charge of membership at Beechgrove Elementary School PTA in Independence, Kentucky, was not aware of Born Learning until her daughter brought home a flyer from school. Now, Amy and her family have been through the Born Learning Academy three times and it has proved quite valuable for the family.
“I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered how much I enjoyed it and how much I learned in the workshops. Not only by the topics being taught, but by the knowledge and tips others in the class had to offer,” said Carder. “The Born Learning everyday learning tips were so simple but things you sometimes don’t even think about. We were able to add so many more learning opportunities into our routine while on the go.”
Earlier this month, Amy Carder shared her experiences with other families at the Born Learning graduation at Beechgrove Elementary. It was the 9th Born Learning Academy at Beechgrove, which had 39 families graduate, including 30 parents with perfect attendance. 29 were returning families and 10 were new to the program this year.
“I didn’t really know anyone at Beechgrove that first year and Born Learning was a terrific opportunity to meet other families,” said Carder. “I got to know some awesome people and I met several of our amazing staff members who volunteer their time to help. It really means a lot to my large, busy family to be able to sit down and have a meal together….that I didn’t have to cook! My kids look forward to coming as well. They have friends who attend, and they get to do cool activities each month.
“My only regret is that I did not know about Born Learning Academy earlier! I was not aware it existed, and I had no idea you could come to something like that if your child was not already at the school. Now I make sure to tell all my friends with little ones about it and invite them here to join us at Beechgrove.”
“Giving families the opportunity to build a relationship with their child’s school early on makes the transition to kindergarten so much easier on that first day. Parents have very little time these days, so providing them with information and tools to turn everyday moments into learning moments makes it easy” said Leshia Lyman, Vice President of United Way’s Success By 6 Initiative.
If you’d like to learn more about Born Learning or find a Born Learning Academy near you in Northern Kentucky, contact Amanda Greenwell by calling 859-525-2600.