A child’s early years are the foundation for growth and development. Because children are constantly learning right from birth, what they learn during these years depends on the experiences they have every day. The Heart of Illinois United Way focuses on supporting quality, early childhood education as part of the Success by 6® early childhood initiative that is dedicated to ensuring that all children, from birth to age 6, are healthy, safe, nurtured and ready to succeed.

In keeping with research findings from our recent community assessment, Success by 6® is dedicated to the development of research-based plans to achieve community change. Objectives have been established that focus on creating public awareness of early development issues, improving quality and access to services for young children and working on public policy that supports the well-being of children.

As one of the first steps in addressing these objectives, the Heart of Illinois United Way’s Success by 6® initiative has produced the Getting Ready for School Calendar that will be available free of charge to parents, grandparents and caregivers in Marshall, Peoria, Putnam, Stark, Tazewell and Woodford Counties.

Beginning in June, the 15-month calendar contains a variety of monthly and daily activities and ideas that will help children develop a variety of skills. It includes school registration information, a school readiness checklist, recommended reading and a variety of local resources.

One of the most exciting days for a child is the first day of school. Children who are ready for school have good social, selfhelp and physical skills and are developing a love of learning. School readiness is more than knowing letters and numbers and identifying colors and shapes. In addition, the School Readiness Calendar provides a guide for fun ideas and activities that include family members and your child’s friends.

It’s easy and fun to provide early learning opportunities for young children by turning ordinary daily activities into eye-opening experiences that help children learn about colors, numbers and the alphabet during daily activities such as laundry, meals, bedtime, riding in the car, walking and trips to the market, library and playground.

The School Readiness Calendar is just one more step in the growth of the Success by 6® initiative as we continue to energize and inspire the community to make a difference in the lives of children in central Illinois.

For more information on Success by 6® we encourage parents, caregivers and grandparents to visit www.hoiunitedway.org. To request a copy of the School Readiness Calendar, call the Heart of Illinois United Way at 309-674-5181. IBI