by Kim Gaudin de Gonzalez –
Many children locally and nationally are entering kindergarten without the academic, social and emotional skills needed for school success. Recent research data shows that more than 50 percent of local preschoolers do not come prepared to enter kindergarten when the district screens them the spring before the school year begins.
Even more startling is the fact that a learning gap shows up even earlier—at about three years old—amongst some children.
“Research tells us that 80 percent of brain development happens in the first three years of a child’s life,” said Chris Borsari, superintendent of the Tarrytown Union Free School District.
The good news is that researchers at the Harvard Learning Gap Initiative have determined that some common sense interactions between infants and toddlers and the people they spend time with can create important connections in the brain.
In order to heighten awareness about a young child’s learning potential during the first three years of life, the Tarrytown School District, in connection with the Foundation for the Public Schools of the Tarrytowns, has initiated a movement called the Tarrytown Sleepy Hollow Basics. The Basics campaign will encourage, instruct and spread the word about five fun, simple and powerful practices that caregivers and others can do to make a huge difference in a child’s life.
On Friday, May 17, from 8 to 9:30 a.m. at the Warner Library, a breakfast meeting will be opened to the entire community–any person, organization or business that cares about young children and interacts with families. School administrators and community organizers will describe the Five Basics, the Harvard research that lead to their development, and brainstorm with attendees about how the community can support our littlest citizens.
“We believe that if our entire community, including our health care providers, library, houses of worship, barber shops, supermarkets, and beyond, work together to spread the Basics, we will build a stronger, safer, and happier community,” said Regina Mignogna, Director of the Tarrytown Sleepy Hollow Basics.