By Kabita Bagchi, Marketing Volunteer
Excelling in life starts at day one, at birth, and spans the continuum from kindergarten through college. But believe it or not 90% of all brain development occurs by the age of five and the first three years are the most critical in shaping the child’s brain architecture. These are the foundation years for developing a child’s full potential and shape key academic, cognitive and social development that determine a child’s success in school and in life.
And A Parent is A Child’s First Teacher
Where early learning builds the foundation for a skilled workforce, a responsible community and a thriving economy, nearly 60% of children entering kindergarten in Waukegan lack basic language and behavioral skills essential for school achievement.
To close this achievement gap that starts before kindergarten and help build a more competitive workforce for the future, United Way of Lake County launched its revolutionary Success By 6 Program. The program is focused on early childhood education ensuring children entering kindergarten have appropriate social, emotional and intellectual development.
The program also empowers parents on being their child’s first teacher through its initiative Early Learning Clubs (ELC) which are free bilingual sessions designed to help parents learn how to teach their preschool age children the basic skills that are necessary to succeed in kindergarten. ELC targets children entering kindergarten who have not been enrolled in any formal preschool or early learning programs.
Parents attend along with their children and receive training, creative tools to effectively teach their children at home for better enabling their ‘school readiness’.Curriculum covers colors, shapes, counting and the alphabet. Participants are provided an array of workbooks, games and reading materials that reinforce the skills covered in the sessions.
Since its inception in 2006, UWLC has served nearly 4,000 children through the Early Learning Club Initiative. In the last year, UWLC served 1,300 children in Waukegan, Round Lake and North Chicago. Our goal for this next year is to serve 1,400 children overall including 700 Waukegan children.