Kentucky is getting another boost to early childhood education. Today, Toyota, with United Way and the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood, unveiled plans to expand the United Way Born Learning Academies, adding 63 schools to the kindergarten readiness program’s growing lineup.
The program kicked off in 2012 with a $1 million grant from the automaker, and was later strengthened with an additional $1.2 million investment by the state via its Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge federal grant. As a result, beginning this fall a total of 161 academies will offer learning resources to parents and caregivers of pre-K children throughout the Commonwealth.
Improving Kindergarten Readiness
Today, an estimated 50% of Kentucky’s children are not prepared for kindergarten, according to the Kentucky Department of Education. Taking aim at this deficiency, United Way Born Learning academies are designed to help parents and caregivers improve their children’s kindergarten readiness with free monthly workshops hosted at local schools. Through hands-on activities, parents and caregivers of children under five years old are trained to turn everyday moments into practical learning opportunities.
When Kimberly Young, principal of Frankfort’s Westridge Elementary and mother to a two-year-old, participated in the program at her school, she picked up new ways to create learning moments in every day places like the car or the grocery store.