The statistics are alarming. Fifty-four percent of Gwinnett kindergartners were underprepared when they began their school journey this past August.
That equates to 6,480 children in our community.
In many ways, this lack of preparedness for school reminds me of Laura Numeroff’s classic children’s book, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. The giving of the cookie has many, unexpected results in the story. The same holds true for early learning. Providing a child with the skills he or she needs to be successful in school has numerous, positive outcomes. Contrarily, not providing a child with the skills needed can result in an unhappy ending to the story.
Despite best efforts, the likelihood is that many of our underprepared students will continue to struggle and fall behind as they progress through school. Experts tell us that if a child is not reading on grade level by third grade
They are four to six times more likely to drop out of high school.
Not graduating from high school significantly reduces an individual’s ability to secure a good paying job that will allow them to financially support themselves. It’s a slippery slope and there is no cookie reward at the end.
In Gwinnett County government, we adhere to the Gwinnett Standard, an expectation of excellence in service, stewardship, and integrity in everything that we do. We should apply the Gwinnett Standard within our vibrantly connected community to ensure that our children arrive ready to thrive in kindergarten.
Thanks to the good work of Gwinnett Building Babies’ Brains, and multiple partners, our community is embracing the challenge and seeking to change the trajectory. In Gwinnett Community Services, our team collaborates with Building Babies Brains through its Building Brains (B2) Anywhere initiative.
B2 Anywhere is a mobile program focused on early learning and academic enrichment. Our team of educators travel all over the county to parks, historic sites, community centers and more. Gwinnett County is our classroom, and we go where the kids are, providing fun and engaging programs that motivate children and encourage parents to be their child’s first and greatest teacher.
In its first year of operation, B2 Anywhere has reached more than 3,661 early learning participants.
Have an early learner at home or have a friend or family member that does? If so, I encourage you to visit www.B2Anywhere.com to discover exciting programs that are available to enrich and enhance a child’s love of learning. As these programs are offered all over Gwinnett, chances are one is coming to a location near you. You can also reach out by emailing B2Anywhere@gwinnettcounty.com to find out more.
Much like the beloved book about the mouse and the results of giving it a cookie, I know if you instill in a child a love of learning, he or she will thrive!