Last updated: July 18. 2013 7:19PM - 312 Views
Jack Latta
Staff Writer

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Officials with the United Way and Toyota Motors were present Thursday at May Valley Elementary to announce their partnership in an innovative new program aimed at improving school readiness in pre-K children.

Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc. (TMMK), with help from United Way of Kentucky and Floyd County Schools, plans to launch an innovative early learning program at May Valley Elementary School. The early learning program comes with a $11,500 grant courtesy of the auto manufacturer.

“The Toyota bornlearning Academy at May Valley Elementary is an expansion of a successful pilot program launched by the United Way in Northern Kentucky,” said Doug Eberhart, President of the United Way. “Statewide expansion of that model would not have been possible without funding and support from Toyota.”

The local grant is one of 10 statewide that will help create Toyota ‘bornlearning Academies’ in 10 Kentucky elementary schools this year. Toyota has committed to investing $500,000 over the next five years in preparing Kentucky’s children for kindergarten.

“Having this best practice model at May Valley Elementary means we can offer Martin-area parents and caregivers access to hands-on training and strategies they can use every day to help ensure that their children arrive at kindergarten ready to learn,” said Floyd County Superintendent Henry Webb. “By offering these workshops before the children even enter school, the students avoid having to play catch-up right from the start and have a much greater chance of success throughout their school years.”

The bornlearning Academies help teach parents and caregivers of children from prenatal to five years old how to turn everyday moments into learning opportunities. The bornlearning concept, created by United Way Worldwide and launched as a pilot project in Northern Kentucky 2010, provides a community resource for parents and teachers to collaborate in early childhood development so that children are better prepared to learn when they enter school.

Terry Tolan, the executive director of the administration’s Office of Early Childhood, says the bornlearning Academies are an ideal pairing of public and private agencies to create a stronger learning environment for Kentucky’s children.

“Parents are a child’s first and most important teachers, and every parent wants to see their child succeed. Bornlearning Academies help parents of young children learn how they can best meet their child’s needs to assure they will be ready for kindergarten.”

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