Partnership between Toyota, United Way and the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood
GEORGETOWN, Ky. (June 27, 2016) — Toyota, United Way and the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood today unveiled plans to expand the United Way Born Learning Academies, adding 63 schools this fall to the six-month kindergarten readiness program, bringing the total to 161 schools.
The program began 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. In 2014, the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood matched Toyota’s grant with the goal of opening 150 new academies over a four-year period.
“The United Way Born Learning Academies show the impact of private and public collaboration to ensure families and children are supported to succeed in school and life,” said Terry Tolan, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood (GOEC). “Our commitment to invest in early childhood benefits young learners, families and communities.”
An estimated 50 percent 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.
According to University of Chicago economist James Heckman every $1 spent on early childhood education carries a 7-10 percent return on investment.
According to the Prichard Committee, children who attend high-quality preschool are more likely to be employed and have higher earnings as adults.