This partnership, funded by Toyota Motor Manufacturing, WV, Inc. and The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation, connects community members with their local education institutions by bringing parents directly into schools. It will provide parents of pre-K children in Boone, Cabell, Hancock, Kanwaha, Lincoln, Marion, Mason, Preston, Putnam, Raleigh and Wayne counties with tools to help their children succeed in kindergarten and beyond. As part of the academies, the parents will participate in six entertaining trainings, where they will learn how to create teachable moments for their children.
The concept, based on the Harlem Children’s Zone Baby College, emphasizes the importance of early learning. This has proven to be an effective approach in low-income areas because, as research demonstrates, adults who have grown up in generational poverty need more help with becoming better parents. For instance, they often need hands-on assistance with building routines in their daily lives and in planning nutritional diets for their families.
2016-2017 United Way Born Learning Academy pilot schools:
- Aurora Elementary School, Preston County
- Blackshere Elementary School, Marion County
- Brookview Elementary School, Boone County
- Buffalo Elementary School, Putnam County
- Cranberry-Prosperity Elementary School, Raleigh County
- East Lynn Elementary School, Wayne County
- Edgewood Elementary School, Kanawha County
- Hamlin PK-8 School, Lincoln County
- Highlawn Elementary School, Cabell County
- Hometown Elementary School, Putnam County
- Leon Elementary School, Mason County
- New Manchester Elementary School, Hancock County
- Poca Elementary School, Putnam County
Statement of Support from Governor Earl Ray Tomblin:
“In West Virginia, we believe every child can learn. Research shows children begin learning at birth and the first and most important educators our children have in their lives are their parents. The United Way bornlearning® Academy encourages parents make the most of that opportunity, and supports a collaborative approach to early childhood development. This program helps parents engage with and learn teaching methods alongside teachers and other community members to give our children the best opportunities to succeed. I am thankful for this opportunity to expand early childhood education and development in the Mountain State.”
Statement of Support from West Virginia Board of Education President Michael Green:
"The West Virginia Board of Education believes that assuring all young children have access to high-quality early childhood learning opportunities is critical to our state’s future success. The United Way Born Learning® Academy is an innovative program that provides tools for parents of young children to create these learning opportunities in everyday moments. By engaging families in hands-on activities and discussion about what it means to be ready for kindergarten, parents are offered strategies they can use at home to maximize their child’s early learning and development. We support the Toyota Born Learning® Academy as an excellent strategy to engage entire communities in the importance of education at every stage of a child’s life."
Statement of Support from West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Cabinet Secretary Karen L. Bowling:
“United Way Born Learning® Academy pilot program will offer many learning opportunities for West Virginia’s children,” West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Cabinet Secretary Karen L. Bowling said. “The Academy is an innovative strategy that will help our children and families engage in appropriate educational activities to ensure the right path to learning.”