United Way Born Learning Academy established at Harlan Independent


Special to the Enterprise



Harlan Elementary School is offering a free parent workshop series to help local families ensure their young children are prepared for school.

“It’s the simple things that make a difference in building a young child’s foundation for success in school and life,” says Charles Morton, superintendent of Harlan Independent School District. “It’s not flash cards or expensive educational toys – it’s things like making your grocery trip into a treasure hunt for colors and shapes. Everyday activities are fun, easy opportunities to encourage learning.”

The United Way Born Learning Academy offers parents tips, tools and resources to do just that. It’s a series of six free workshops that provide families with young kids additional resources to turn everyday activities into early learning moments. The workshops are at night at Harlan Elementary School, with food and childcare provided.

Supported by United Way and Toyota, it’s one of nearly 100 United Way Born Learning Academy programs in Kentucky, West Virginia and Indiana. It was created by United Way of Greater Cincinnati, with local school leaders, and Northern Kentucky University, in partnership with United Way Worldwide’s Born Learning public engagement campaign (www.BornLearning.org).

Why does early learning matter? Experts say the first few years are one of the most critical times for a child’s development. Kids who get the right learning opportunities in their early years are more likely to graduate high school, go on to college, stay married and be productive citizens.

But kids who come to school without the cognitive, social-emotional and physical skills needed have a harder time learning basics like reading. By the end of third-grade, kids who can’t read on grade level are four times as likely to drop out of high school, research says.

The United Way Born Learning Academy is offered to any families with kids under five. The workshops focus on how to turn everyday moments into learning opportunities and provide participants a chance to connect with other families, and learn new skills. Parents are not required to have a child enrolled at the school to attend.

Workshops are set for 6 p.m. on the following dates and will be held at Harlan Elementary School: Sept. 19, Oct. 17, Nov. 21, Jan. 16, Feb. 20 and March 20.

Morton went on to say, “Our community is dedicated to the success of all children. All of us in Harlan County must do all we can to help families prepare their young children to succeed in school.”

All families, regardless of where you live or attend school are welcome to attend.

For more information and to register, parents and caregivers should contact Debby Howard, Harlan FRYSC, at 606-573-8745 or [email protected]

Special to the Enterprise

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