MARTIN – Deputies with the Floyd County Sheriff’s Department and Martin City Police participated in Toyota’s United Way Born Learning Academy at May Valley Elementary on Thursday, Sept. 10.
In 2013, Toyota manufacturing operations in Kentucky announced today a doubling of their investment in early childhood education in Kentucky to $1 million through 2016.
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky, Inc. (TMMK) and Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America (TEMA) provided funding to United Way of Kentucky to expand the United Way Born Learning Academies, which launched in 2012 at 10 Kentucky elementary schools. Through 2016, United Way Born Learning Academies will be established at 62 schools. The academies teach parents and caregivers of children from prenatal to five years old how to turn everyday moments into learning opportunities.
Academies will start at 12 new schools this year and Toyota will provide funding to continue the program at both sets of schools annually. The academies are open to anyone in each community, not just those with children enrolled at the schools.
The Born Learning Academy is an innovative approach to early childhood development and parent engagement. The Academy utilizes bornlearning materials created by United Way Worldwide and a workshop model developed by Tim Hanner, retired school superintendent, United Way of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky University. The partnership grew to include the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence and United Way of Kentucky.
The United Way Born Learning Academies serve as a fun and innovative community resource for parents and teachers to collaborate in early childhood development and explore ways children can learn through everyday interaction. Monthly school-based workshops will provide parents with tools to help their children succeed in kindergarten and beyond.
Connecting children to formative experiences in their early years is vital to future success. Children who are not prepared for kindergarten start out at a disadvantage and, without intervention, may continue to lag behind. According to a 2011 study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, students who do not read proficiently by third grade are four times less likely to graduate high school than those who read at a proficient level.
The United Way Born Learning Academies dovetail with Gov. Beshear’s emphasis on early childhood education. In 2011, he created the Governor’s Early Childhood Advisory Council to unite stakeholders behind common strategies, standards and goals for Kentucky’s early childhood system and to advocate for improved quality of early childhood services and improved school readiness.
Doug Eberhart, president of United Way of Kentucky, said Toyota’s commitment to creating 62 academies in Kentucky is an important step in raising the state’s overall educational attainment.
Toyota employs about 6,600 team members at its Georgetown manufacturing plant; another 1,800 work at its North American manufacturing headquarters operation in Erlanger.