September 2017 Newsletter

Boston Basics.News.

With fall here once again and the crunch of leaves soon to follow, the Boston Basics is marking the season by sharing recent headlines. Partners have been active in communities with families, caregivers, and children across the city.

Ron Ferguson* continues to make the rounds in the news (see below), talking about the importance of early learning and the brain science behind the Basics. 
*Faculty Director, Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard University

The Boston Basics welcomes Haji Shearer as he joins the team as the new Program Director. He will be leading the training and outreach effort to collaboratively embed Boston Basics practices across sectors.

For over two decades, Haji has held leadership roles in human services in Massachusetts, serving families and the parenting education community. Formerly the Director of the Fatherhood Initiative at the Children’s Trust in Boston, his first book, Facilitating Fathers’ Groups: 22 Keys to Group Mastery, was published in 2014, and his articles have appeared in the Boston Globe among other publications.
To schedule a training, contact:

Coming Soon
We are busy planning more collaboration with partners in the months ahead. The team is hard at work creating an online Basics Community Toolkit that we will launch this winter, including new videos, tips, activity guides, and outreach materials. The toolkit will be a dynamic, multimedia resource to support organizations in integrating the Basics into their work. Stay tuned for highlights. 


In the Community: Partner Shoutouts

Partnering with the Boston Basics is great--It's exciting to offer the tools to parents. Moms are happy to tell us that they've explored the videos at home with their kids.
--Valerie Laboy, Teacher and Educational Manager, IBA Preschool

Everyone was joining in the fun at IBA’s (Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción) popular Family Picnic at their preschool in July, as they helped to spread the word about the Boston Basics. Little ones, siblings, parents, and grandparents celebrated community and Latino culture through a talent show, music, and more.

IBA is also embracing the Boston Basics as part of its ongoing activities. Staff talk about the Basics with parents during preschool tours and stream the videos for Open House. They are now folding the Basics into IBA programming for low-income families, which supports multicultural housing, education, and the arts.

The Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers deepened their partnership with us this summer by assigning recent Wellesley College graduate, Jasmine Vargas, to weave the Boston Basics into its technical assistance to health centers.

Jasmine worked on assessing Basics implementation and supported community training and education efforts. She connected with seven community health centers and presented Basics concepts at a well-attended Boston HealthNet Clinical Collaborative meeting with representation from 13 centers.

On a beautiful Saturday morning in July, excited and wiggly children of all ages came with their families to join the throng at the annual WGBH FunFest: A Day of Ice Cream and Music. 

An active partner since our inception, WGBH distributed Basics materials as part of the day’s festivities, including carnival games, moon bounces, coloring, kid-friendly music, and PBS characters like Curious George, Word Girl, and Clifford.

Allston-Brighton Family Support Network children enjoyed face painting and posed with favorite character Super Why!


In the News: In Case You Missed It
The inspiration and urgency for the Basics is grounded in national data. Racial and socioeconomic skill gaps are clearly present by the age of two—we can prevent that from happening.
--Ron Ferguson, Achievement Gap Initiative, Harvard University
Check out Ron’s WBUR interview, “Can the ‘Boston Basics’ Help Close the Achievement Gap? with Meghna Chakrabarti of Radio Boston. He discussed the fundamental importance of incorporating the Basics into a child’s early life experiences.

 In a Boston Globe article, Local Leaders Have a Better Chance of Fixing the Economy than Washington Does, Harvard Business School professor, Jan Rivkin, called out the Boston Basics as a model of civic and cross-sector collaboration.

One of our most shared social media posts on our Facebook feed was New York Times article, “The Birth of a Mother,” by Dr. Alexandra Sacks, on the transition to motherhood and little discussed feelings like fear, guilt, and frustration.

The Boston Basics are 5 fun, easy, and powerful ways that every family can give each child a great start in life.