BY5 June 2016 Newsletter

The Indiana Summit for Economic Development is a Big Success

In Delaware County, BY5 has been a driving force in promoting the effects of Kindergarten Readiness on future economic success. But on June 7, BY5 (in collaboration with Early Learning Indiana, ReadyNation, and Indiana Early Learning Advisory Committee) launched its message to a state-wide platform via the Indiana Summit for Economic Development.

Over 500 people from across the state came to Muncie, Indiana, to hear a variety of legislators, experts, and other speakers make the case for building early childhood infrastructure in their communities. “We have an opportunity to change the trajectory of a generation,” said Tom Kinghorn, current chair of the board of directors of BY5. "All the research shows the greatest benefit is the community at-large. We will be a better community in 20 years by virtue of the investment today."

It appears that the message took hold during the Summit. Many attendees present at the Summit expressed optimism about the message. Sen. Tim Lanane, D-District 25 and Rep. Sue Errington, D-34, said they were encouraged that there appeared to be growing bipartisan support. Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma, R, District 88, closed out the program saying progress won't come easy but encouraged the crowd "don't give up!"

Only time will tell how the effects of the Summit will ripple out across Indiana, but hopefully, June 2016 is the beginning of a universal push for better early childhood experiences—and better communities for tomorrow.

It started as a lone email and grew into a community-wide initiative to get kids back into nature—but from the beginning, Delaware County’s Nature Play Days program involved state and local partners united by the goal of getting kids into nature, and it had a lasting impact on local families.

The Nature Play Days program is the brainchild of the Indiana Children and Nature Network (ICAN), a group of state-wide educators who promote outdoor experiences. ICAN set aside the week of June 11-19 as Nature Play Days week and encouraged all communities across the state of Indiana to offer outdoor and nature-based programming and activities for families.

BY5 spearheaded Nature Play Days efforts in Delaware County. However, the program could not have happened in Delaware County without the support and collaboration of 15 local community organizations, who banded together to form the Delaware County Nature Play Coalition. Coalition members include educators, recreation specialists, representatives from local nature preserves, as well as other facilities. They worked together to plan nearly fifty free opportunities for outdoor play in Delaware County during the week of June 11-19.

According to Mary Tankersley, a Coalition member who works for Cardinal Greenways, had this to say about Nature Play Days: “Families offered very positive feedback. They talked about discovering new places and seeing new things with their children.”

If you missed out on this year’s Nature Play Days, no fear—the Coalition is already talking about how they can begin to plan for next year’s Nature Play Days week.

Many Organizations Help Bolster Child Development Awareness

The news keeps getting better for local families who want to help their children grow!

United Way of Delaware County recently achieved Pacesetter status in the National Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is a national program that seeks to improve children’s third-grade reading scores, and Delaware County was named a Pacesetter for making significant progress in eliminating reading barriers faced by children in low-income families in Delaware County.

As a result of this accomplishment, BY5 was asked to submit a proposal for the funding opportunity, and was awarded a Vroom Grant. Vroom, an organization largely supported by the Bezos Foundation, provides materials to families that help them recognize when their behavior is stimulating their child’s brain in a positive way. Delaware County was one of only 23 communities in the nation to receive this honor.

Through the Vroom Grant, families in Delaware County will have access to a smartphone app, posters, tip cards, and other materials designed to help caretakers enrich their children’s lives. BY5 will act as a lead partner in this project, working to disseminate the Vroom materials in the community and educating families and providers about them.

Thanks to United Way of Delaware County, Vroom, the Bezos Foundation, and BY5, families will soon have more resources to help their children maximize their potential.

Kickoff to Kindergarten

If you live in Muncie and have a little one who will be starting Kindergarten in the fall of 2016, you may be able to help your child get a jump start on learning. The Kickoff to Kindergarten program is a free summer learning program for incoming Kindergarteners, taught by area teachers, to help children develop the skills necessary to succeed in Kindergarten. Children will be served lunch each day, and at the end of the program, all students will receive three free books.

The program will take place from July 11-July 29, 9am-11:45 am, at the following elementary schools: East Washington Academy, Grissom, Longfellow, North View, South View, and Sutton.

While Kickoff to Kindergarten is free, space is limited. To learn more about registering your child, or to find out more information about the program, contact Heidi White at or 747-5422.
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