For Immediate Release - April 23, 2012

Brain Building in Progress Week Aims to Raise Public Awareness About Importance of Early Education and Care

Stakeholders participate in events across Massachusetts to highlight importance of early education and care for Commonwealth’s future

BOSTON – Monday, April 23, 2012 - The Department of Early Education and Care today marked the beginning of the “Week of the Young Child,” an annual series of events across Massachusetts aimed at raising awareness about the importance of early education and care in children’s overall development and to the future prosperity of the Commonwealth.  The Patrick-Murray Administration has made closing the achievement gap and ensuring all students are prepared for future success a priority, and identified early literacy development as a key strategy in reaching this goal. 

This year’s activities (April 22-28th) will be centered on Brain Building in Progress, a statewide communications initiative jointly launched last year by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) and the United Way. Brain Building in Progress Week will highlight efforts across the state to provide the Commonwealth’s youngest citizens with high quality and enriching experiences to ensure healthy brain development.

State officials and leaders in education will show their support of Brain Building in Progress week at the State House on Thursday April 26th, by reading books with children from the Associated Early Care and Education program in Boston.  Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray will participate in the event and present a state proclamation declaring the week as Brain Building in Progress week in Massachusetts.

“I commend our parents, educators, families, and communities for the incredibly important work they do each and every day to foster our youngest citizens’ healthy brain development,” said Lieutenant Governor Murray. “Everyone can play a role to collectively enrich and support a child’s positive growth and learning.  I look forward to seeing this exciting momentum continue in the months and years to come.”

“Children’s brains are shaped by the interactions in their environments; when you engage with children in a positive way, by reading with them, helping them explore and discover their world, or just having thoughtful conversations with them, you are providing enriching experiences that help to build their brains,” said EEC Commissioner Sherri Killins.  “Brain building provides children with a strong foundation for them to grow and develop into healthy adults, which helps to ensure a prosperous future for all of us.” 

Throughout the week, communities will come together to showcase the ongoing work they are engaged in and to educate citizens on how they can support children’s healthy early brain development.  Brockton has announced plans to celebrate Brain Building in Progress week by focusing on the social and emotional well-being of young children, by recommending related books and activities for programs and families to use with children.  The Dorchester Boys and Girls Club and Coordinated Family and Community Engagement network are holding a Community Engagement Day on April 28th for families to learn more about ways to promote children’s positive brain development, including literacy activities, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) activities outside the classroom, brain injury prevention, and storytelling. 

Research shows that stable and supportive relationships, language-rich environments, and engaging interactions with caring adults promote healthy brain architecture.  Quality adult relationships can help young children overcome stressful conditions that may otherwise impact brain development and lead to lifelong difficulties in learning, memory, and self-regulation as well as chronic health conditions. 

“I commend the Brain Building in Progress Campaign for bringing awareness to the importance of investing in quality early education and care, as this plays a critical role in closing the achievement gap,” said Representative Alice H. Peisch, House Chair of the Joint Committee on Education. “The public and private sector must work together to ensure that quality early learning opportunities be made affordable and available to all children throughout the Commonwealth.”

“We are excited about this continued statewide, public-private partnership between the EEC and United Way,” said Michael K. Durkin, President of United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley. “Brain Building in Progress Week will raise awareness of the importance of the first few years of a child's development to their future success -- and our region's future workforce and prosperity.”

Participating nonprofits are listing their events on the official Brain Building in Progress Facebook events pageFurther information regarding the weeklong campaign and events.

Brain Building in Progress Week is funded by United Way and the Department of Early Education and Care with support from Channel 5 WCVB-TV Boston, Massachusetts Association for the Education of Young Children, Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Boston Alliance for Early Education, Early Education for All, Thrive in 5, and the Boston Children’s Museum.

Brain Building in Progress week events across the state.PDF