The Spartanburg Basics: Give Me Five

The Mary Black Foundation’s mission is “to invest in people and communities for improved health, wellness, and success in Spartanburg County.”  The Foundation fulfills this mission through targeted, data-driven investments in programs, policies, and place-based work that supports Healthy Eating/Active Living, Early Childhood Development, and Adolescent Health.

The Spartanburg Basics is one such program that helps support the early development of young children, primarily from birth to age three years.  Developed under the leadership of Dr. Ron Ferguson, Economist at Harvard, “The Basics” are inspired by the fact that 80% of brain development growth happens in the first three years of life. “The Basics” outlines five simple principles that every parent can begin to establish in their interactions with their young children to help nurture their optimal brain development for future kindergarten and life-long success.

These five basic principles are:

  • Maximize love, manage stress: Babies thrive when the world feels loving, safe, and predictable. Caregiving that is affectionate and responsive develops a sense of security and self-control.
  • Talk, sing, and point: Babies learn language from the moment they are born. They learn through loving interactions with their caregivers. Eye contact, pointing, and real words teach more about communication than a screen ever can.
  • Count, group, and compare: Children are born wired to learn numbers, patterns, sizes, shapes, and comparisons. What they learn about math in the first few years makes a difference when they enter school.
  • Explore through movement and play: Children are born curious about the world. They are like scientists.  Pay attention to your infant or toddler’s interests.  Help them learn through play and exploration.
  • Read and discuss stories: The more we read with young children, the more prepared they become to enjoy reading and do well in school. Even infants enjoy the shapes and colors in books.  Let them hold the book, turn the pages.  Point to the pictures and talk about what you see.

To learn more about the Spartanburg Basics and places to practice these principles in this community, please visit the website.

Other Resources:

Palmetto Basics: http://palmetto.thebasics.org/en/about/

NPR: 5 Simple Ways to Encourage Brain Development in Your Little One