I recently was asked if Best Beginnings provides any services outside Anchorage. This person knows Best Beginnings because her child receives books from Anchorage Imagination Library, a program of Best Beginnings.
The answer is YES! Our mission statement says “Best Beginnings is a public-private partnership that mobilizes people and resources to ensure all Alaska children begin school ready to succeed.”
So, what do we do and how do we do it?
Support for Alaska parents/caregivers
- Weekly e-newsletter with literacy and language ideas and recommended children’s books to 15, 754 parents and others in Anchorage, Juneau, Sitka, Cordova, North Star, Sand Point, Meadow Lakes, Nunapitchuk, Chignik Lagoon, Copper Center, Marshall, Buckland, Alakanuk, Selawik, Klawock, Chevak, Akiak, Unalakleet, Brevig Mission, Ward Cove, Saint Mary’s, Wales, Scammon Bay, Kotzebue, Port Alsworth, McGrath, Emmonak, Grayling, Cooper Landing, Shishmaref
- Early learning activity booklets and guides for children birth to 5 to parents/caregivers and early childhood programs (activity guides in English, Spanish, Yup’ik)
- Videos with real families demonstrating activities in the booklets
- Little Learners week-long virtual camps for children 2-5 in Alaska, including backpacks filled with everything needed for each camp – created, produced, and distributed by Best Beginnings
- Book Bundles to Alaska children who live where there is no Imagination Library
- Online resources for families and early educators – website, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube
- Seasons of Alaska books, one for each season of the year, written by first-time Alaska Native authors and illustrated by Alaska Native photographers – received many local, statewide, and national accolades. Available online
- Distributed 20,000 Seasons of Alaska books to early childhood programs and parents/caregivers, at no cost to them
- 10 StoryTRACKS lent for free to organizations around Alaska, engaging families in storybook reading and physical activity as they move from panel to panel, reading the book – “storybooks on parade”
- Leadership and collaboration in local and statewide early childhood efforts, including advocacy for early childhood policies and funding
Training, support, and grants to Imagination Libraries in Alaska
- 30 Imagination Libraries providing books to children in 138 communities
- In FY22 grants were made to these Imagination Libraries: Bethel, Greater Kenai/Soldotna, Homer, Ketchikan, Kodiak, Mat-Su, Metlakatla, North Star (Fairbanks), Sitka, Southeast Alaska, and Upper Tanana.
- Because of the pandemic, no in-person meeting of all Imagination Libraries was held.
I encourage you to click on the links provided and check out these resources, available to Alaskans all over the state (and we’ve had requests for materials from as far away as South America!).
Yes, Best Beginnings’ office is in Anchorage but our work extends all over Alaska.