Berkshire United Way (BUW) and Northern Berkshire United Way (NBUW) have partnered with Ready4K to provide Berkshire families fun and educational facts and tips right to their cell phones. This innovative program supports parents and caregivers as their child’s first and most important teacher.

Support for early childhood education is crucial to BUW’s and NBUW’s missions. By exposing children from birth through age 5 to language rich experiences, they enter kindergarten ready to learn and have the best chance of being proficient readers by third grade.

Based on research conducted in a recent 2019 Early Childhood Assessment and Sustainability report, Civitas Strategies found that bolstering the services available to directly serve parents and caregivers has the greatest potential to positively influence the overall well-being of the family unit in general, and ultimately increase third-grade reading proficiency.

“BUW learned about the Ready4K program right before COVID-19 struck our community. Based on the evaluation data about improved child outcomes and parent satisfaction, we were excited to bring this free texting service to the Berkshires and add it to our portfolio of investments in early childhood education,” said Candace Winkler, president and CEO of Berkshire United Way. “This simple but effective program seems even more relevant now as families struggle with social distancing and virtual education. We are proud to partner with Ready4K to provide parents with simple, tangible ideas they can use at home with their child to promote growth and development.”

About Ready4K

Ready4K is a research-based text messaging program for families with children ages 0 to 9. Each week, you will receive three texts with fun facts and tips on ways to help your child learn and grow. Ready4K tips build on your daily routines, like getting dressed, bath time, or preparing a meal – and you’ll always get messages that match your child’s age.

The program supports the Head Start Parent, Family and Community Engagement Framework, promoting family well-being, positive relationships, child transitions, and involvement at school. Text messages focus on: approaches to learning, social and emotional development, language and literacy, cognition, and perceptual, motor, and physical development.

You may enroll up to three children per cell number and choose English or Spanish as the text language. The program is free, but data and message rates may apply.

To learn more and enroll go here.

(above information taken from a press release that was sent to WSBS from the Berkshire United Way for on air and online use) 

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