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KC Chamber Launches Early Education Awareness Campaign: Pre-KC

Quality early childhood education puts kids on a path to success – without it, too many fall behind. In fact, one in three children in the Greater Kansas City area doesn’t have the skills they need when they enter kindergarten. They’re behind even before they start.
Meanwhile, research shows that a child’s brain develops fastest during their first five years.  To develop that little mind’s full potential requires engagement, guidance, and activity.
On Thursday, February 8th, the KC Chamber is launching “Pre-KC,” a robust early learning awareness campaign. The sole purpose of the six-month campaign:  to educate the region on the importance of quality early learning. 
The campaign announcement was made by Chamber President & CEO Joe Reardon, along with Sesame Street Muppets Elmo and The Count.  Sesame Street in Communities is a key partner in the Pre-KC awareness effort. 
Other Pre-KC partners include the Mid-America Regional Council, Turn the Page KC, Bark Productions, and Bernstein-Rein.
Funding for the campaign includes a $300,000 grant from the Ewing M. Kauffman Foundation, as well as contributions from the deBeaumont Foundation, PNC Foundation, and REACH Healthcare Foundation.
“We so appreciate the funders and the many organizations collaborating with us on this campaign,” Reardon says.  “Education IS a business issue.  Regardless of where a child lives, he or she deserves to get the right start in life.  Business and Kansas City will both win as a result of this effort, and we’ll all be the better for it.” 
Videos of Elmo and The Count exploring Kansas City will be featured on social media and through public service announcements.
A website has been created for the campaign –  Visitors to the site can register for upcoming Sesame Sessions and sign up for free Pre-KC Subscription Boxes.
Sesame Sessions are a series of free community workshops for parents, providers, educators, and families.  They’ll be held each month in various locations around the metro.  The first Sesame Session will focus on resiliency and is scheduled for Thursday, February 15, from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. at Kaleidoscope in Crown Center. 
Pre-KC Subscription Boxes are free and available by signing up on the website.  Subscribers will receive a boxful of early learning resources, including Sesame Street in Communities Toolkits, stickers, plush character toys, and early learning information. 
The Pre-KC campaign will also include a social media invitation to the community to play the games Elmo and The Count played while they were here – counting the K’s and the circles they found throughout Kansas City.   People can share their photos on Twitter @prekc1 and on Facebook via PreKC.
The link to the Muppet/Joe Reardon video is:
The science behind Pre-KC
  • Getting children off to the right start pays off, reducing juvenile delinquency, addictions, school dropout rates, learning disabilities, obesity, and other problems By the time a child is three, their brain has formed 1000 trillion neuron connections.
  • If a baby’s body developed as quickly as its brain, it would weigh 170 pounds at one month of age.
  • The birth-to-three period is the fastest rate of brain development across the entire human life span. 
  • By the age of three, children from low-income families will hear roughly 30 million fewer words than children from more affluent families, placing them at a disadvantage well before they ever cross the schoolhouse door for their first day of kindergarten
  • 75 percent of children enter the Kansas City Public Schools behind either academically or emotionally, early learning programs are a proven way to ensure that students start school ready to learn and succeed.
  • 80 percent of children’s brain develops by their third birthday; the early years from birth through 5 are critical to their cognitive, social and emotional growth.
  • Science confirms that the first 5-years of life are when the brain develops the fastest
  • Today, almost 60 percent of children in the United States start kindergarten unprepared, lagging behind their peers in critical language and reading skills
  • The Lifecycle Benefits of an Influential Early Childhood Program,” shows that high quality birth-to-five programs for disadvantaged children can deliver a 13% per year return on investment—a rate substantially higher than the 7-10% return previously established for preschool programs serving 3- to 4-year-olds
  • Program participants followed into adulthood benefited from increased earnings while the public saw returns in the form of reduced special education, welfare, and crime costs, and increased tax revenues from program participants later in life.
Media Contact:
Pam Whiting
(816) 374-5481