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Archive for the ‘Too Small To Fail’ Category

Clinton Foundation
Dear Friend,

When I left the White House in 2001 and returned to life as a private citizen, I wanted to continue working in areas I had long cared about, where I believed I could still make an impact.  That’s what the Clinton Foundation has tried to do, by creating opportunities and solving problems faster, better, at lower cost so that more people are empowered to build better futures for themselves, their families, and their communities.  I am grateful to everyone in the U.S. and across the world who has been involved in our work, and especially grateful to Chelsea for her role in increasing scope and impact.

From day one, the Foundation has pursued its mission through partnerships with governments, the private sector, other foundations, and philanthropists, creating networks of cooperation that are focused on results.  In 2005, we convened the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) to give people all over the world the chance to do the same thing.

These efforts have improved millions of lives around the world.  For example:

  • More than 11.5 million people in over 70 countries have access to lifesaving HIV/AIDS drugs at 90 percent lower cost through our affiliated Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), including more than 800,000 children.  That’s more than half the adults and three quarters of the children on treatment today.
  • CHAI has also organized the training of thousands of health care workers as part of an effort to address critical shortages in poor countries and help others build strong, self-sufficient health systems, and expanded access to high-quality, low-cost treatment and diagnostics for many other diseases and conditions.
  • Through our work with the affiliated Alliance for a Healthier Generation, more than 18 million students in over 31,000 American schools, in every state, now have healthier food and more physical activity options, and our agreements with the beverage industry have reduced the caloric intake from drinks by 90 percent in the vast majority of U.S. schools.
  • Our Health Matters Initiative is working in six communities to improve health and has worked with innovative drug companies to help reverse opioid overdoses and combat prescription painkiller misuse by lowering the cost of autoinjection naloxone and making naloxone nasal spray available to every high school in the U.S. at no cost.
  • The Foundation’s Haiti initiative has promoted sustainable investment resulting in the planting of more than 5 million trees and removing a storm damaged tree services, the development of 5 new agricultural supply chains benefiting more than 4,000 smallholder farmers, and support for more than 20 entrepreneurial businesses.  And members of CGI’s Haiti Action Network have made more than 100 Commitments to Action to strengthen the health, education, agriculture, and infrastructure sectors.
  • Our climate change projects have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than 33,500 tons annually across the U.S.  We’ve also partnered on reforestation and land restoration efforts in South America and East Africa, and are working with island nations to develop renewable energy projects and reduce dependence on expensive imported diesel and petroleum.
  • More than 500,000 people in Latin America are benefiting from social enterprises that connect people to job training, supply chains, and entrepreneurship opportunities.
  • More than 105,000 farmers in East Africa have dramatically increased their yields and their incomes.
  • And, through Too Small to Fail (TSTF), we are working with the faith-based community, pediatricians, community and business leaders, and Head Start educators to provide parents with resources in everyday settings to support their young children’s early brain and language development, and have reached 155,000 parents with tips through direct text messages.

I have found great joy in simple moments shared with people who are benefiting from our work: holding a baby who is alive and healthy because he now has access to AIDS medication; planting rows of seeds with smallholder farmers in Malawi and hearing about how our programs have lifted their incomes, enabling them to send their children to school and electrify their homes; meeting with female entrepreneurs in Peru who are earning a good living for the first time in their lives by providing essential goods to their remote communities.  This work has been my life for the last 15 years, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

Since Hillary began her presidential campaign in 2015, Chelsea and I have made it clear that the work the Clinton Foundation started should continue if Hillary is elected, but that changes would be necessary.  While it would be presumptive to assume a victory in November, now that Hillary is her party’s nominee, it would be irresponsible not to plan for it.

If Hillary is elected president, the Foundation’s work, funding, global reach, and my role in it will present questions that must be resolved in a way that keeps the good work going while eliminating legitimate concerns about potential conflicts of interest.  Over the last several months, members of the Foundation’s senior leadership, Chelsea, and I have evaluated how the Foundation should operate if Hillary is elected.  Throughout the process, our top priorities have been preserving our most important programs, supporting the people who work for the Foundation and its affiliated programs, and resolving legitimate conflict of interest questions.

If she is elected, we will immediately implement the following changes:  The Foundation will accept contributions only from U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and U.S.-based independent foundations, whose names we will continue to make public on a quarterly basis.  And we will change the official name from the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation to the Clinton Foundation.

While I will continue to support the work of the Foundation, I will step down from the Board and will no longer raise funds for it.

Much of the Foundation’s international work, like that of most global NGOs, is funded in part by donor governments’ bilateral aid programs.  If Hillary is elected, we will transition those programs out of the Foundation to other organizations committed to continuing their work.  Doing this in a way that ensures continuity and is respectful of all the employees working around the world will take time.  We will complete these transitions as soon as we can do so responsibly.

With respect to CHAI, I will step down from the Board. We, along with the CHAI Board, are additionally considering a range of options to ensure that its vital work will continue and will announce details soon.

The Clinton Foundation was originally established to build the Clinton Presidential Center and Library in Little Rock, and the work there will continue regardless of the outcome of the election.  Since opening its doors 12 years ago, more than 4 million people have visited the Center and it has helped to inspire new generations of leaders—including through the Presidential Leadership Scholars program, a bipartisan educational partnership with the George W. Bush Presidential Center, the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation, and the Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation.  The Center has lived up to my vision and much more, including as an important educational and cultural resource and driver of economic growth for the Little Rock community.

Finally, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) has accomplished even more than I dreamed when it began in 2005, and we’ve made the decision that the Annual Meeting this September will be the last, and that we will no longer hold our CGI America meetings.  Nine years ago in my book Giving, I wrote, “I want to continue these meetings for at least a decade, with the objective of creating a global network of citizen activists who reach across the divides of our interdependent world to build real communities of shared opportunities, shared responsibilities, and a genuine sense of belonging.”  That is exactly what CGI, its members, and its dedicated staff have done.

We started CGI to create a new kind of community built around the new realities of our modern world, where problem-solving requires the active partnership of government, business, and civil society.  We’ve brought together leaders from across sectors and around the world both to talk about our challenges, and to commit publicly to actually do something about them.  It was something different, but our bet paid off: there was a hunger for the chance to make an impact that brought together people and organizations with the resources to make a difference with people who have the knowledge and experience to turn good ideas into action.  Corporations, governments, and non-governmental organizations began combining their strengths and finding entirely new approaches to old problems.  CGI quickly became an embodiment of what works best in the 21st-century world, and what has been behind all of the Clinton Foundation’s work since the very beginning: networks of cooperation.

This partnership model, which may seem self-evident today, was simply not how philanthropy and corporate responsibility worked over a decade ago.  Today, members of the Clinton Global Initiative have made more than 3,500 commitments that are already improving over 430 million lives in more than 180 countries.  These projects will continue to make an impact around the world and in the U.S.  The idea that working together beats going it alone has caught on well beyond our CGI community.

It’s been one of the great honors of my life to be part of this special community, and I hope the hard work and benefits of CGI’s great staff and its members’ creative cooperation will keep rippling out into the world.  The commitment model has been adopted by other forums and I hope that more will do so, or that new organizations will arise to do this work.  While this year will be the last for the CGI Annual Meeting and CGI America, I hope and believe we can and should preserve CGI University (CGI U), our meeting that brings university students together to develop innovative solutions to important challenges in the U.S. and around the world.

In addition to continuing CGI U and all of the activities of the Clinton Presidential Center, the Foundation will also continue those domestic programs that can be maintained with the funding restrictions we announced today.

The process of determining the Clinton Foundation’s future if Hillary becomes President has not been easy.  It’s an unprecedented situation, so there’s no blueprint to follow.  Part of what has made the Foundation successful over the last 15 years has been our understanding that solving problems and creating opportunities faster, better, and in the most cost-effective way sometimes means changing course.

Working alongside so many passionate people around the world who share our goals and believe in our approach has made these 15 years one of the most rewarding chapters of my life, as I know it has been for Chelsea.  While my role in that work will change, the work itself should continue because so many people are committed to it and so many more are relying on it.

Chelsea and I are very proud of what the Clinton Foundation, its affiliates, and its partners have accomplished, and we are profoundly grateful to the staff, to those who have funded our work, and to all the people with whom we have worked and from whom we have learned so much.  We will try to be faithful to them, their values, and their work in effecting this transition as quickly and effectively as possible.

Sincerely,

Bill Clinton

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The Clinton Foundation convenes businesses, governments, NGOs, and individuals to improve global health and wellness, increase opportunity for girls and women, reduce childhood obesity, create economic opportunity and growth, and help communities address the effects of climate change.

09-24-13-Z-06

HFA Statement on Donald Trump’s Clinton Foundation Attacks

Hillary for America Chair John Podesta released the following statement:

“The Foundation has already laid out the unprecedented steps the charity will take if Hillary Clinton becomes president.  Donald Trump needs to come clean with voters about his complex network of for-profit businesses that are hundreds of millions of dollars in debt to big banks, including the state-owned Bank of China, and other business groups with ties to the Kremlin. Donald Trump should stop hiding behind fake excuses and release his tax returns  and immediately disclose the full extent of his business interests. He must commit to fully divesting himself from all of his business conflicts to ensure that he is not letting his own financial interests affect decisions made by his potential administration.”

STAND

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In the wake of the first Republican double-header in August, having heard a great deal about walls and fences, this page celebrated Hillary Clinton as a builder of bridges.  As we look forward to the next round of Republican face-offs, we can predict that the humanitarian crisis that has erupted in Europe will probably arise in some form.  Preparing for such a field, however, may have a lot more to do with the game plan itself rather than the particular issues.  How can you know what the game is?

Some games are obvious.  Donald Trump’s one-man show of coming out swinging is clearly a boxing match.  You might think the same of Christie, but I have a hunch his game is Five-Card Stud.  Ben Carson keeps a poker-face and plays close to the chest.  Jake Tapper, the dealer, might be preparing for several of the candidates to be Blackjack players, but Carly Fiorina likely is basing her game on Serena Williams and improving on that last match.  Jeb Bush, with the family castle to defend and the armies against him, had best be good at chess.  Only a fool would go to the roulette table, so we will probably see a few of them do that.  Other than that, it’s a crap shoot.

To be ready to face Hillary Clinton, whichever candidate comes out of these debates and primaries as the nominee  ought to be brushing up on bridge. Not only is Hillary a bridge builder,  she plays the game according to Hoyle. She excels at it.

Bridge is a game of partners.  No one develops partners like Hillary Clinton does  – unless it is Bill Clinton –  and no one values them more.  Her formidable record as a senator is rooted in partnerships within her own party as well as with Republicans.  Even before her first moments at the podium behind the seal of the secretary of state, Hillary Clinton stressed partnership as key to progress.  This is from her confirmation hearing.

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President-Elect Obama and I seek a future of cooperative engagement with the Russian government on matters of strategic importance, while standing up strongly for American values and international norms.

China is a critically important actor in a changing global landscape. We want a positive and cooperative relationship with China, one where we deepen and strengthen our ties on a number of issues, and candidly address differences where they persist.

But this not a one-way effort – much of what we will do depends on the choices China makes about its future at home and abroad.

With both Russia and China, we should work together on vital security and economic issues like terrorism, proliferation, climate change, and reforming financial markets.

As secretary of state, she did have a lot of salvage work to do among our offended friends and allies.  But the big project in front of her was the partnerships.  If you do a search for the word “partner” here, these are the pages that come up.

There were strategic dialogues and understandings with major world powers and memoranda of understanding with emerging democracies.  Not only did she develop important partnerships at the State Department, her work afterwards with the Clinton Foundation, like Too Small to Fail, and No Ceilings  which has spawned #NotThere Yet, was driven by partnerships.

In short, Hillary Clinton is a skilled contract player.  Partnering with France’s President Sarkozy on Libya, she masterfully bid our way to the dummy hand allowing France to play out the hand as declarer.  Her skill was so stunning that commentators called her the “acting president.”

In her speech on the Iran agreement on Wednesday, the word “partner” or “partnership” appeared seven times.  Also in that speech, she had this to say about the plight of the Syrian refugees, a situation she has been warning the world about for years.

 

With respect to the refugees, I have said I think that, you know, we’re
coming up on the U.N. General Assembly, I think there should be an emergency global
gathering where the U.N. literally tries to get commitments. You know, we did that with
Haiti. After the Haiti earthquake we had a huge gathering at the U.N., where literally it
was like a pledging conference, where we said what are you going to do? You know,
what can you contribute?
And little countries to big countries all stepped up, and it was a
great show of support in the face of a terrible natural disaster.
We need to do something similar. And I’ve publicly called on the U.N. to

convene such a gathering. I do it again today in front of all of you. The United States

has to be at the table, has to be leading it. We were in a strong position to do that on
Haiti. I think even though it’s not on our doorstep, we have a real interest in working not
just with our European friends, I think this is a global responsibility. And if you’re too far
away or for whatever reason you don’t think you can take refugees, then you have to
contribute money. You should be supporting not only those refugees fleeing, but the
incredible work that Jordan and Lebanon and Turkey have been doing, and they have not
gotten the financial support they need. In fact, the last I checked the U.N. appeal had
only reached 37 percent

Bridge is Hillary Clinton’s signature game.  The Republicans can practice any games they want to play with each other, but when it comes to facing Hillary Clinton, if they do not hone their bidding and partnering skills, Hillary Clinton will take every trick.  The GOP will be left standing there like Rick Perry, who withdrew this week.  Oops!

Hint to GOP candidates:  You cannot master this game without reaching out to others and nurturing trust.

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VOLUNTEER

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Hillary Clinton and NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray held a surprise event in Brooklyn today.  Hillary, obviously, was in her element!

Wednesday
Apr 01
2015

Too Small to Fail Releases “Talking is Teaching Community Campaign Guide” to Activate and Enhance Local Word Gap Campaigns Nationwide

New York, NY
Press Release

New York — Too Small to Fail released today its “Talking is Teaching Community Campaign Guide,” a how-to roadmap for local leaders across the country to initiate and enhance on-the-ground efforts to help close the word gap and boost young children’s early brain development. The guide and corresponding free materials and resources can now be found on www.toosmall.org/community.

The Community Campaign Guide builds off the success and lessons learned from Too Small to Fail’s local campaign efforts in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Oakland, California. The local campaign, titled “Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing,” launched in these communities in 2014. Since then, Too Small to Fail has worked within these communities to engage trusted messengers — such as pediatricians, faith-based leaders, child care providers and librarians — to educate parents and deliver high-quality tools that can help them engage in meaningful interactions with their young children starting at birth.

The guide offers adaptive Talking is Teaching creative content and resources that encourage parents to talk, read, and sing with their children during everyday routines — from waiting for the bus, to making dinner, to giving a bath; ideas for engaging the business community and other allies to raise awareness; and suggestions about elevating community messages through local media. The free multimedia assets can be easily tailored to respond to the individual needs of a community.

The “Talking is Teaching Community Campaign Guide” is designed to inform local efforts underway across the country, as well as the one launched today in New York City. Today, at SCO FirstStepNYC Early Childhood Center in Brooklyn, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton joined First Lady of New York City Chirlane McCray and local parents to launch New York City’s “Talk to Your Baby, Their Brains Depend on It” public awareness campaign. This campaign will distribute 100,000 toolkits to parents which will include a “Talking is Teaching” resource for families, jointly developed by Too Small to Fail and Sesame Street. New York City will partner with organizations such as Reach Out and Read and the Administration for Child Services EarlyLearn sites for distribution.

“This is a conversation we want to have with as many people as we can reach because everybody needs to be creative and smart about how we better prepare our kids for the future,” said Secretary Clinton.

For more information about the “Talking is Teaching Community Campaign Guide”, visit Too Small to Fail online (www.toosmall.org/community), on Facebook (www.facebook.com/2smalltofail), or on Twitter (www.twitter.com/2smalltofail).

Photos from today’s event can be found at here.

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Closing the Word Gap, One Community At a Time

Not long after we launched our community campaigns in Tulsa and Oakland last year, we heard from many passionate individuals and business leaders across the country who were eager to spread the word in their own communities about the power of talking, reading, and singing with young children to boost early brain development. Encouraged and inspired by these messages, Too Small to Fail co-hosted a one-day conference on the word gap with the White House last October, where we committed to producing a guide with information, resources, and tools about how community leaders could launch or enhance word gap campaigns that would meet their specific community needs.

Now, we’re delighted to share that our new “Talking is Teaching Community Campaign Guide” is live on toosmall.org. In it, interested community leaders will find the latest research on early brain development, important information on launching a local word gap campaign, and related advice from Too Small to Fail and our partners. We have also provided creative campaign assets for producing toolkits and paid media.

We’re excited to join new and existing partners across the country, each committed to promoting early learning for young children where they live, and empowering parents to take action to boost their children’s language and brain development. Our hope is that communities that are ready to join this effort will find these materials and resources useful as they determine the best strategy to close the word gap in in their hometowns.

Resources for Sharing:

  • Learn about Too Small to Fail advisory council member Dr. Dana Suskind’s Thirty Million Words Initiative in Chicago, Illinois in this article by the Hechinger Report.
  • Our friend, Mayor Angel Taveras launched the innovation Providence Talks program in this city. Find out more about it in this New Yorker article.

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Don’t miss our special campaign trailer to learn more about how we’re working with our partners in Tulsa and Oakland to promote early brain and language development. >>

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Here are the March newsletters from Too Small to Fail.

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Reading Aloud With Children For Learning and Fun

“You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child.” —Dr. Seuss

Reading aloud to children has many benefits for both parents and children. Books that rhyme can be especially fun to read aloud, and help children better understand the natural rhythm and sounds of language. Perhaps few children’s books have been as loved by both parents and children as those written by Dr. Seuss. His books—from Fox in Socks to Green Eggs and Ham—are meant to be read aloud, and parents and children of all ages delight in them.

But even if parents are not comfortable reading aloud, there are other ways that they can introduce rhyming to young children.

As highlighted in an earlier newsletter, rhyming is an important tool for building language skills, and is used by cultures around the world. Rhyming helps build memory, strengthen language skills and introduce musical timing to words. When parents read aloud or recite nursery rhymes and poetry to young children, they expose their children to speech patterns that can improve future reading and verbal skills. In addition, rhyming introduces playfulness to the act of reading, which encourages a love of reading, and improves bonding between children and adults.

Reading aloud provides an easy and effective way for children to hear a variety of words that may not be used in everyday life. Parents and caregivers can practice reading rhyming and other books aloud to their babies in any language, from the moment their children are born. But if parents are not comfortable reading aloud, they can use singing, nursery rhymes, and even rapping to help their children recognize patterns of speech and inspire a love of language in their children.

Resources for Sharing:

Video

Watch these singers, elected leaders, writers, and other local West Virginia celebrities read Oh, The Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss. >>

Even Singing Off Key Can Bring a Smile to Children’s Faces

If YouTube videos are any indication, most babies love music and singing. From a very early age, children enjoy hearing silly songs, soothing lullabies and even fun rock songs if those songs are sung by their favorite people—parents and caregivers! New brain research continues to confirm the importance of singing to children, and is revealing how even the simplest melodies can contribute to early brain development.

Singing—much like rhyming—is a special form of language that improves children’s memory, and teaches them rhythm and melody. Brain research has shown that when children are sung to, both the left and right sides of their brains are activated, strengthening their neural connections. Singing can also teach children new vocabulary words.

But children don’t get the same benefits from listening to a CD or musical video. According to Sally Goddard Blythe, director of the Institute for Neuro-Physiological Psychology, the benefits to brain development occurs best when a parent or caregiver sings directly to, and with, a young child.

Even if a parent or caregiver feels that they can’t carry a tune, young children appreciate the effort! Parents and caregivers can sing during everyday activities—like at bath time or before bed—to help their babies and toddlers develop important language and communication skills, and bring love and joy to every day activities. Don’t know the words? Adults can make up the words to a familiar tune, or insert a baby’s name into a song in order to spark their interest.

Resources for Sharing:

  • This blog post discusses research on the importance of music and singing to the early learning of children.
  • This article from Psychology Today explains the science behind the power of singing.
  • Many ideas for including singing and music into everyday activities, from Reading Rockets.
  • Five songs here to help parents and caregivers sing along with their babies and toddlers!

Video

This talented mom tries singing a few different songs to this four-month-old, until he finally hears the one he likes. Check it out! >>

Appreciation for Math Starts at Home!

Young children often show a thirst for knowledge that helps their brains develop. This thirst presents a good opportunity for parents to encourage an early appreciation for math, which improves brain growth, and serves as a foundation for math skills learned later in school. And the really good news is that early math learning can be fun for both parents and children!

While older children can learn math skills like multiplication and algebra in school, an appreciation for and understanding of math actually begins much earlier in a child’s life. Stanford University professor and early math expert Deborah Stipek explains that math learning—like all learning—begins in infancy. Parents can begin teaching math concepts to babies by pointing out shapes, quantities, and the sizes of things around them. These early math concepts serve as building blocks for later learning that will include more complicated math principles. And the more parents talk with their babies about math during the years their brains are rapidly expanding language, the more likely their children are to understand, and be comfortable with, “math talk” later on.

Parents and caregivers can use everyday, fun activities to establish an early appreciation for the math that is all around us. For example, parents can set up different size containers for babies and toddlers to play with—pointing out the shapes of each and their sizes. They can also point out the order of items on a grocery store shelf (“first”, “second”, “next to”, “last”), to help children learn numerical order. Even if a parent isn’t comfortable with math problems, they can help set their children up for future success by playing simple board games that improve counting and other math skills.

Resources for Sharing:

  • This article from PBS Parents explains why encouraging a love of math in children early on helps them when they enter school, and beyond—and check out these fun math games for babies and toddlers!
  • Our factsheet offers ideas for how parents and caregivers can talk, read and sing about math with their children every day.
  • Videos, tips for parents and math games for children of all ages can be found on the website, Math at Play!

Video

Don’t know how to begin teaching young children about math? Use the furniture in your home! Check out this video on how to use a child’s environment for early math learning. >>

Good Food for Thought

Nutritious food is important to the normal development of very young children. From brain growth to physical strength, healthy food provides the fuel that babies and toddlers need to thrive. But offering healthful food to young children doesn’t have to be stressful for parents and caregivers. There are many ways that parents can help their children enjoy healthy eating—even among picky eaters!

According to decades of clinical studies, good nutrition during the first few years of life are important to normal brain development—providing essential vitamins, minerals, fats and proteins that the brain needs to make new neural connections. Healthful food also provides young children with the energy and strength they need to develop motor skills, language, and even social and emotional skills. Studies of malnourished children show that without the right kinds of nutrition, children have difficulty concentrating, show poor interest in learning and may exhibit behavior problems.

Parents and caregivers can ensure the good nutrition of their young children by establishing healthy food habits, and offering a wide variety of healthful foods that contain a proper balance of nutrients. Even picky toddlers often enjoy meals that allow them to choose from a variety of nutrient rich foods, and incorporate interesting shapes or colors.

Regardless of how much food gets into children’s mouths, meals together are great times to establish good habits and strengthen family bonds. When parents talk with their children about the food they’re eating or about their days—even if their children can’t yet talk back—young children learn that meal times can be fun and loving experiences that fuel the body and the mind.

Resources for Sharing:

  • Good nutrition for toddlers takes many forms, as explained in this article from the San Francisco Chronicle.
  • This article explains the kinds of nutrition that benefit toddlers and preschoolers.
  • Print out these tips for ways to improve your young child’s early nutrition!

Listen

This podcast from ZERO TO THREE’s “Little Kids, Big Questions” series explains why nurturing healthy eating habits from the start is important. >>

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Encouraging Curiosity for Better Learning

When children exhibit curiosity, they are actually exhibiting an interest in learning. This innate interest in learning and exploring their world helps children retain information, and is an asset to their later development and success in school. The more curious children are about the things they see, hear and think—and the more questions they ask!—the better off they are in later learning.

From the moment a baby fixes her gaze on a new object, she is exercising her curiosity to help her learn. Even if a child is too young to use words, her brain is actively working to understand what she is experiencing and to help her make sense of it. According to brain research, the brain’s chemistry actually changes when curiosity is piqued, and helps a person remember not just what they’re curious about, but any other information they come across during that highly charged learning time.

Curiosity is not unique to human beings, but it is one of our strongest innate abilities, and guides and motivates us to acquire new information.

Parents can encourage their children’s natural curiosity in several ways. For example, parents of young babies can encourage their children’s interest in a particular object or sounding by showing interest in what their babies notice, and talking to them about what they see or hear, even if the child cannot yet talk back.  Parents and caregivers can also provide their babies with safe, new objects that can be explored with hands, mouths, eyes or ears. For older toddlers who may ask a lot of questions, parents can encourage their children by answering as many questions as they can, or looking for answers together in a book.

 

Resources for Sharing:

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An animated video from Great Schools about nurturing curiosity—and learning—in young children. >>

Celebrating Black History and Diversity Builds Self-Esteem and Empathy

Every February, teachers across America highlight the important contributions that African Americans have made to United States history, culture, and economy. Integral to these conversations is the importance of diversity, and teaching children to appreciate the differences—and commonalities—among their fellow human beings. But children can begin learning about diversity and celebrating African American history before they begin school. In fact, parents and caregivers can help children understand early on that appreciating the differences among us enriches all our lives.

Young children often pick up on the differences among human beings early on, but can learn that difference is a positive trait, rather than a negative one. A positive view of diversity is taught by building self-concept, or self-esteem, as well as empathy. When young children are taught to empathize with others—or, to put themselves in others’ shoes—they learn important social and emotional skills that benefit their relationships, communication skills and personal development. Additionally, children can develop positive self-esteem by learning to take pride in their accomplishments and talents, as well as those of their peers.

Parents and caregivers can use Black History Month as an opportunity to discuss difference and diversity in a positive way, and to encourage children to be proud of how they look and what they can achieve. By using stories from history, songs and dances that celebrate diversity and encourage self-esteem, parents can help ensure that their children will grow up with a positive outlook for life and respect for the world around them.

 

Resources for Sharing:

  • These articles, activities and even recipes from PBS will help parents and caregivers celebrate diversity with their children year round.
  • Books and activities for sharing with kids, from Reading Rockets.
  • Ideas for books, songs and art activities—as well as a personal story about celebrating diversity—from the Artful Parent blog.

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Test your Black History skills with this infographic from You Parent! >>

How Bonding Builds Babies’ Brains

Often, there is a lot of emphasis placed on the cognitive or physical skills young children pick up—how to roll over, walk, or recite a nursery rhyme, for example. But in truth, social and emotional skills are just as important to early brain development, and for reasons that scientists are just beginning to understand. And this type of early social-emotional development has a direct connection to how parents and caregivers interact with their children early on.

Scientists believe that the attachment that parents form with their young children helps ensure a sense of safety in children and builds their self-esteem. Newborns usually seek nurturing from their parents and caregivers from the moment of birth, and when their basic needs are met with gentleness and affection, their sense of security increases, and stress levels decrease. These chemical changes in the brain have long-lasting, positive effects on the brain, and can improve early learning and the ability to form positive relationships with others.

Loving moments experienced between parents and children—from birth through adolescence—contribute to feelings of closeness between the two. Parents can use daily activities, like changing a diaper or preparing a toddler for bed, to enjoy quiet moments that reassure a child that he or she is loved. Eye-to-eye contact, holding a baby’s hand, and talking to him throughout the day (even if he’s not yet talking back!) are all ways that parents and caregivers can help their children grow up to be confident, loving adults.

 

Resources for Sharing:

  • This cute Sesame Street video for parents explains how showing interest in your young child’s activities improves bonding and builds self-esteem!
  • Great tips for parents on activities that encourage bonding with young babies, using everyday activities.
  • How singing (yes, singing!) can help your baby bond with you, and learn.

Video

Find more videos from Sesame Street on our website, talkingisteaching.org. >> 

Early Communication Builds Language and Social Skills

Human beings use many forms of communication to share thoughts, feelings and ideas with others. Language is a skill that is learned from birth by the back-and-forth dialogue that parents and other caregivers develop with their babies and toddlers. However, babies and toddlers communicate in a variety of ways before they are able to speak—including through coos, babbling, physical touch and even crying. The more parents and caregivers encourage early communication, the more their young children learn about how to express themselves.

According to the Urban Child Institute, the first form of communication that babies learn is touch. In countries where babies are often tied to a mother throughout the day, babies root and nurse when they’re hungry, long before they are ready to cry. Experts have found that the more responsive parents are to their children’s earliest needs by touching, talking gently and picking them up when upset, the more stable those children will be. In addition, children begin to learn actual language much before they are able to use words. In fact, research shows that children understand words and tones long before their first birthday.

There are many ways that parents and caregivers can help their children improve their early communication skills. ZERO TO THREE encourages parents to respond to a baby’s gestures and sounds by talking and cooing back to him, and picking him up when he lifts his arms. Also, parents can help their children build language skills by asking questions and exploring answers together, and by taking time to read, talk and sing with young children every day.

Video

A fascinating video from the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, about how parents stimulate children’s early brain development through “serve and return”. >>

 


ICYMI, we announced a new partnership with First 5 California at its annual Child Health, Education, and Care Summit earlier this week. Hillary Clinton also made a special appearance via video! #talkreadsing

 


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The science is clear: The earth is round, the sky is blue, and . Let’s protect all our kids.

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It was an active month for Too Small to Fail with Chelsea in the spotlight.

Article and video From People >>>>

Chelsea Clinton Shares Her Mommy Routines with Baby Charlotte (VIDEO)Wednesday
Jan 21
2015
New York, NY
Press Release

New York, NY — Too Small to Fail and Sesame Street launched today a new text-to-parents program in partnership with the free mobile health information service, Text4baby, to distribute research-based tips to new parents about the importance of talking, reading and singing with their newborn children. The service will reach Text4baby’s network of subscribers that has reached more than 820,000 parents nationwide at no charge to participants.

This new text-to-parents program of ‘Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing’ is the first national partnership to use texting to deliver tips on early language development to parents of infants. Research-based tips developed by Sesame Workshop, the non-profit educational organization behind Sesame Street, will provide parents with specific ways they can promote their infants’ early language development and support Sesame’s mission to help all kids grow smarter, stronger and kinder. Each early language development tip sent out through Text4baby will also be paired with a link to an engaging and relevant video, also produced by Sesame Workshop. These videos, featuring real parents and children, as well as the Sesame Street Muppets, will model for parents how to engage in the specific behaviors promoted through the tips.

From meal time to bath time to bed time, text messages will span a wide range of topics aimed at helping parents find fun and meaningful ways to incorporate talking, reading and singing to their babies into their everyday moments and routines. For additional parenting resources, visit www.talkingisteaching.org andwww.sesamestreet.org/talking.

Originally announced at Clinton Global Initiative America, this partnership builds off the latest research about the power and potential of providing parents with key information to promote early literacy development through text messaging. Recent research has found that communicating with parents through mobile text can be a highly effective strategy for producing positive learning outcomes for children. A new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that San Francisco preschoolers whose parents received text messages with highly-specific tips on reading to their children or helping them sound out letters and words performed better on literacy tests than children whose parents did not receive such messages.

Beginning today, parents who have signed up for the Text4baby service will receive early language development messages beginning from their baby’s 9th week of development, and every other week thereafter until their baby turns one. The text-based tips will be made available in both English and Spanish. Too Small to Fail will also work with community partners and pediatricians in Tulsa, OK and Oakland, CA, as well as in other cities across the country, to encourage parents of infants to sign up for the service.

New parents can sign up for this service by texting BABY (or BEBE in Spanish) to 511411. To access even more early learning tips and information, visitwww.talkingisteaching.org.

 

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New Year, Old (and New!) Routines

Singing songs at bedtime, eating dinner together every day, reading a special book to your baby or toddler—these are all routines that children enjoy sharing with parents and caregivers. But routines also play an important developmental role, because they help children develop stronger social and emotional health that can benefit them long-term.

According to a study published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, routines can improve the social and emotional health of young children. Researchers found that story telling, shared meal times, singing and play routines doubled the odds of a child having high social and emotional health. Other studies have shown similar findings. Turns out that routines help children learn to trust and depend on others. This is a valuable asset for stability in relationships, and strengthens parent-child bonding time.

In addition, routines help babies and toddlers better manage emotions, since they know what to expect and aren’t as easily pulled into power struggles with parents and caregivers.

While family life can often be chaotic, there are many ways that parents can introduce routine into their children’s lives. Finding time to have regular meals together can be challenging for busy families, but this time together offers a great way for parents to build trust with children and encourage new vocabulary. Establishing a regular bedtime is also a great way for parents to help their children get the physical and mental rest they need, while providing a comforting way to regularly connect through bedtime stories or songs.

 

Resources for Sharing:

  • This article from ZERO TO THREE explains how routines benefits babies and young children—as well as adults!
  • Real advice for parents from this PBS Parents expert about creating routines for children, from birth through teenage years.
  • This article from Michelle Howell Miller on Huffington Post shares how a bedtime routine benefits young children.

 

Video

Watch this childhood expert explain why routines are important for babies, toddlers and even older children. >>

 

 

Active Play is Good For Everyone!

Ever notice how some young children appear capable of generating enough energy through their movements to power a large city block for a day? Whether by running in circles, swinging their arms or jumping up and down in place for a long stretch of time, many babies and toddlers enjoy levels of physical activity that exhaust all but the most physically fit adults.

A young child’s instinct for movement and active play is an important one. In addition to helping them develop good habits and physical health, active play also helps them develop critical emotional and communication skills that will benefit them through childhood and into adulthood. Physical activity helps children understand how to interact with their environment—like how to throw a ball or hang from a monkey bar—and provides them with the self-confidence they need to actually do those things. And when children play with adults or other children, they learn how to communicate their needs more effectively and better manage their emotions. A research study published in Pediatrics in September 2014 showed that children who engaged in active play for at least an hour a day were better able to think creatively and multitask than other children who were not as active.

Like practicing an instrument, engaging in physical play builds muscle memory and helps children apply new skills towards other activities.

Parents and caregivers can encourage their children’s natural desire to play and move by starting early and getting active with them! Instead of always placing their infants in a sitting position, parents can try placing young babies on a towel on the floor so that they can strengthen their muscles and prepare to crawl or walk. Parents of toddlers can also practice throwing soft balls to them and encouraging them to throw it back, or by singing songs together like “Hokey Pokey”, which encourage dancing and following instructions.

Resources for Sharing:

  • This article from ZERO TO THREE explains how physical play helps children learn, grow strong and become better communicators!
  • Current research highlighting the importance of physical play to children can be found in this story by National Public Radio (NPR).
  • Great ideas for encouraging physical play in toddlers in this piece from KidsHealth

Video

Watch Chelsea Clinton and Elmo enjoy a heart-to-heart about talking, reading and singing to babies, as featured in People Magazine! >>

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The Benefits of Reading Aloud to Children

Reading aloud to children from birth has many benefits for both parents and children—and can be great fun!  No matter how young, children can learn a lot when they are read to, and benefit a great deal from the cuddling and bonding that accompanies a reading session. In addition, the act of reading aloud to children is highly beneficial to both their vocabulary growth and in preparing them for school later on.

Even from birth, children are absorbing language by listening to their parents and caregivers talk, read and sing to them and others.  When parents and caregivers read to their children, they help instill a love of learning and language in their children that helps build self-esteem, confidence and curiosity. According to research by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), reading has been found to be the “single most important skill” for a productive life.

Unfortunately, according to Read Aloud 15 MINUTES, only 48% of young children in the United States are read to each day. And studies have shown that as many as 10 million children struggle with basic reading in school.

Parents and caregivers can inspire a love of books in their young children by reading books together every day, in any language. And it doesn’t matter how young the child is; even newborn babies show interest and excitement when their parents read simple books to them as they cuddle or nurse them, or when parents describe the pictures in a book during a short play session. No matter the book—and no matter the age—children will learn to love reading if it means spending more time with loved ones.

 

Resources for Sharing:

INFOGRAPHIC

This beautifully illustrated infographic has great info on reading aloud to children, and why it matters. >><

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