September marks the third birthday for Best Beginnings. What a ride it’s been so far! The movement for early childhood is growing – nationally and locally. Here in Alaska, momentum is building, and Best Beginnings is proud to be both a leader and supporter. Social movements don’t happen overnight.
At risk of overstatement, what we’re doing amounts to birthing a movement. Much of the early work was invisible from the outside as we focused on the myriad challenges of organizing – from setting up office systems to getting our arms around the monumental challenges any cultural shift entails.
What is a cultural shift? It’s a wholesale change in attitude, marked by a value widely shared. A cultural shift occurs when people generally accept a particular value or behavior as a given – just about everyone wears a seat belt, for example. Cultural shifts are marked by a common sense of what it means, of grassroots support and expectation, of many people from diverse sectors working toward a common goal.
The movement for early childhood is building – nationally and locally. More and more, we read and hear stories about the importance of investing in young children, research on the growth patterns of babies’ brains, and how more funding is going towards early childhood.
Here in Alaska, momentum is building, and Best Beginnings is proud to be an instigator and supporter.
- Imagination Library is expanding to more communities and more children.
- Parents of young children and other caregivers have better access to tools that will help them help their babies’ brains grow in positive ways.
- Business leaders are realizing the high stakes for them, in terms of tomorrow’s work force and today’s employees as parents of young children.
- The State of Alaska is conducting a pilot project for state preschools.
- And Alaskans at the community level are forming early childhood partnerships to figure out how best to meet the needs of young children in their own communities.
Social movements don’t happen overnight and this one is no exception. We have lots of work ahead – and thankfully, many allies to share the challenge.