The Seeds of a healthy successful life are planted in the early years

The Seeds of a healthy successful life are planted in the early years
Dianne Jacob
Dianne Jacob, Senior Vice President and Director of Client and Community Relations, PNC Bank

Did you know that 90 percent of a child’s brain develops by age five?

Or that a child’s brain undergoes an amazing period of development from birth to three – producing more than a million neuron connections each second?

Or that everyday interactions with a child such as talking, reading aloud, playacting and singing helps teach basic skills such as cooperation, getting along with others, literacy skills, thinking skills and becoming an enthusiastic learner?

Since 2004, PNC Bank has provided tools and resources for families and caregivers to help develop curious minds, especially young children from underserved communities. Through their Grow up Great program, a multi-year, bilingual initiative for children zero to five, they provide the foundation from which young minds can grow and thrive. To date, PNC’s program has served nearly seven million children and counting.

“Access to early childhood education is an essential building block for success,” commented Dianne Jacob, Senior Vice President and Director of Client and Community Relations with PNC Bank. “We know that children who grow up in safe, nurturing and stable environments and have positive interactions with parents and caregivers, are more apt to do well in school, graduate and experience higher education. This leads to a stronger workforce and well-adjusted adults, both of which are essential to the future of our communities.”

But a child’s success doesn’t happen in a vacuum. “It really takes a village to ensure young children have the resources needed to develop into curious learners. Here locally, that includes joining forces with community leaders such as the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and Barancik Foundation as well as caring organizations that provide wraparound services for families, including Forty Carrots and local Early Learning Coalitions. It also means informing and educating government officials at the city, county, state and federal level on the importance of good nutrition, access to stable home environments and a consistent and structured pre-K system to ensure consistent learning from community to community. Without these, we’re finding children aren’t ready to learn when they enter kindergarten and may not reach their full potential.”

In partnership with the Van Wezel Foundation and Van Wezel Arts Education Department, PNC Bank is helping to pilot an innovative new kindergarten readiness program that utilizes arts education to inspire learning.

Van Wezel programs such as classroom visits and Artworks Anywhere videos are developed specifically to meet the needs of children zero to five. Van Wezel teaching artists are trained in early learning standards and best practices to develop workshops and resources to address early literacy, math and social emotional learning. Artworks Anywhere videos can be accessed at home and teach parents how to engage with their children through the arts.

PNC Bank has a long commitment to corporate social responsibility and ensuring families have access to community offerings that enhance the quality of life for children. “That’s why we partner with the Van Wezel Foundation, whose donors provide vital resources needed for access to early childhood education and kindergarten readiness programs through the Van Wezel Arts Education Department. It’s a beautiful intersection of support.”

PNC Bank’s Grow up Great program offers free resources for parents and caregivers. Visit their website to learn more about this and other corporate social responsibility impact.

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