There will be a Twitter chat today at 1PM EDT/10AM PDT with Dr. Dana Suskind, former Senator Bill Frist, and Ann O’Leary to discuss the Strategic Roadmap and the word gap. Use hashtag #2SmallToFail.
San Francisco, CA—Too Small to Fail, a joint initiative of Next Generation and The Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation released its first campaign blueprint today, which lays out a rationale for prioritizing early childhood development in the United States. The report is an important step in realizing the initiative’s goal to help parents, caregivers, communities and businesses take meaningful, evidence-based actions that will improve the health and well-being of America’s youngest children, ages zero to five, and prepare them to succeed in the 21st century. The report can be found on the initiative’s website, toosmall.org, along with an op-ed from Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, “Closing the Word Gap.”
This survey of recent research, titled “A Strategic Roadmap from Too Small to Fail,” highlights the very serious challenges our children face today, and explains that what individuals, businesses and communities do today to improve early learning, early health and family support can meaningfully affect whether our children are able to succeed tomorrow. The report notes that support from the private sector is especially important during challenging political and fiscal times.
One of the conclusions drawn from the report’s data is that many parents are unaware that they can have a lifelong impact on their children’s learning starting from birth, and that small acts—like talking to their babies for just a few minutes a day—can make a difference for the better.
Secretary Clinton’s op-ed, which refers to data found in the report, states “Studies have found that by age four, children in middle and upper class families hear 15 million more words than children in working-class families, and 30 million more words than children in families on welfare. This disparity in hearing words from parents and caregivers translates directly into a disparity in learning words. And that puts our children born with the fewest advantages even further behind.”
Too Small to Fail will focus its initial efforts on helping parents close the word gap through a national public education campaign.
“We’ve seen so many advances in the past twenty years in science and technology that are helping us better understand early childhood development,” said Ann O’Leary, vice president and director of the Children & Families program at Next Generation. “But we’ve taken steps back when we measure the number of low-income children who are learning the skills they need to climb out of poverty and move this country forward. Children of parents who have not had the opportunity to participate in higher education are being read to with less frequency today than in 1993. The first efforts of Too Small to Fail will be focused on closing the word gap, so that we can adequately prepare children for school and beyond.”
The report further outlines next steps for Too Small to Fail in recruiting businesses and community leaders to make commitments to action, which will include such efforts as modifying workplace policies to provide flextime and predictable working hours for parents.
To read the full report, go to: toosmall.org/strategicroadmap