Policy Resource

Kentucky's Born Learning Academy Program

Jul 9, 2017

Born Learning® Academies are helping Kentucky parents of children prenatal to five understand how to turn everyday experiences into learning opportunities.

Born Learning® Academies engage parents in hands-on activities and discussion about what it means to be ready for school and offer strategies that can be used at home to maximize children’s early learning and development. The tools are easy, sometimes as simple as talking about the colors of the trucks that pass by while mom and baby take a walk. The school-based workshop series allows a meaningful conversation to start with parents early about the essential building blocks of education to support future academic successes and to create a strong connection between home and school.

The intentional placement of a school setting allows for parents and children to gain insight and a level of comfort needed to help transition into school later. This is also an opportunity for school leaders to get to know the family and their needs—all leading to long-standing and positive parent-teacher relationships.

The Born Learning Academy program was developed by Kenton County Schools, Northern Kentucky University early childhood faculty, and United Way of Greater Cincinnati Success By 6. It began as a pilot at Beechgrove Elementary. Evaluation data showed promising results, with almost all parents increasing their understanding of the importance of playing, talking, reading, and singing with their children.

In Fall 2012, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky, Inc. (TMMK) and Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America (TEMA) began providing funding to the United Way of Kentucky to launch Toyota Born Learning Academies at ten Kentucky elementary schools. They increased their investment by $1 million the following year. As of mid-2017 there were 214 Academies across the state.

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