HARRISBURG, PA —The Foundation for Enhancing Communities (TFEC) launched a grant initiative entitled The Basics Movement in June 2023. This endeavor aims to implement The Basics principles within TFEC’s service area, with five selected partners set to receive $50,000 each over the next four years in two phases. The funds are intended to bolster existing programs or seamlessly integrate The Basics strategy into their programs.  

Phase 1 will start immediately with three organizations in Cumberland, Franklin, and Lebanon Counties. Phase 2 will kick off in 2024 and include two additional organizations serving Dauphin and Perry Counties.  

TFEC selected the United Way of Carlisle & Cumberland County, First Start Partnerships for Children and Families (Franklin County), and Lebanon Family Health Services as the inaugural recipients of this funding. Each will receive $50,000 over the next three years to support their programs.  

Overseeing this transformative initiative will be TFEC’s dedicated Early Education Initiative team, responsible for providing logistical support and convening partners to ensure the success of all grantees.  

“Our Early Education Initiative focus is school readiness, building community resiliency, and workforce development, and The Basics address all three of those areas,” said TFEC President and CEO Janice Black. “The Basics Movement is a public health approach that raises awareness about early childhood development and builds capacity throughout the community for engaging families, and its positive impact will be transformational throughout our communities!”  

The Basics, initially developed by Dr. Ron Ferguson at Harvard in 2016, is a scientifically proven strategy focused on five key principles for early learning and brain development. The ultimate mission of The Basics is to foster social, emotional, and cognitive skill-building among children from birth to age 5, creating a solid foundation for school readiness across entire communities.  

The five Basic Principles are as follows:  

  1. Maximize Love, Manage Stress  
  2. Talk, Sing, and Point 
  3. Count, Group, and Compare 
  4. Explore Through Movement and Play 
  5. Read and Discuss Stories  

By using sociological saturation within TFEC’s service area, families and communities can learn these techniques from trusted providers. In turn, children can then experience the crucial development they need from birth to age 5 in order to be ready to succeed in school and in life. Achievement disparities between children from different racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds will shrink as children from all backgrounds start school better prepared.

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