The above-linked article by Lisa Guernsey at the New America Foundation tells us how “early childhood advocates received some big shots of energy last week,” including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s declaration to participate in a national initiative titled “Too Small to Fail.” In addition, Guernsey tells us that “the J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family foundation announced social impact bonds and $20 million in investments in the first phase of its public-private partnerships projects known as the “Early Childhood Innovation Accelerator” project.
In the article, we learn that Too Small to Fail, started in November 2012 by Next Generation, a relatively new research and advocacy organization focused on children and the environment, is designed to leverage social-media tools, private-sector partnerships and philanthropic investments to assist parents and continue to raise awareness of brain development in children from birth to 5. The initiative has received support from White House, First Lady Michelle Obama and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. According to Guernsey, “the early childhood community is already buzzing with questions and speculation about what Clinton’s involvement will mean for a host of fledgling programs that aim to help children and families – from flexible workplace policies to home-visiting programs to high-quality preschool.
The Pritzker Foundation’s Accelerator project is part of a string of projects that employ “social impact bonds,” which Guernsey tells us is a “new vehicle for infusing money into social interventions that show evidence of reducing costs in the long term.” Goldman Sachs is the primary lender for the Accelerator project. To read more about the Pritzker Foundation’s efforts, readers can check out a New York Times article on the project.
Guernsey’s article also summarizes ideas shared at the annual Clinton Global Initiative America meeting last week in Chicago. Ideas in the early childhood group at the CGI meeting were aimed at brainstorming “new ways to assist families with young children, boost early childhood programs, and help the field of early learning from birth through age 8.” Although Guernsey tells us most projects were in the conception stage, she assures us we can expect to hear more specifics in the coming year.
Personally, Guernsey’s article and the Too Small to Fail kick-off video (that is included in Guernsey’s article) made my day when I read it. It is so exciting to see people focusing their brainpower and available funding on what has been my mission for almost 20 years, which is to share with parents, caregivers and educators what it takes to get a child ready for school and life during the crucial period of development from 0-3 years. Whether it be via my Operation Ready By 3 Infant-Toddler Curriculum (which parents are finding useful, practical, fun and easy-to-use!), home-visiting programs, public-private partnerships, social impact bonds, initiatives, public policy statements or support from the White House and Department of Education, babies born in 2013 and beyond, regardless of their race, gender, socio-economic level or family background will have a much better chance at success in school and life than those born before 2013. It is truly an exciting time to be born as well as to be a parent, caregiver, educator, early childhood policy wonk, or government official who cares about our future citizens and the future of the United States of America.