School readiness initiative leads to success later in life

Did you know that 90% of a child's brain develops before the age of five? 

A child’s early years are the foundation for growth and development.  

That is why United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region is committed to helping preschool students prepare for kindergarten.  

Meet Anna…

As a four year-old, Anna communicated what she wanted by throwing an aggressive, and loud temper tantrum.  

So when it came time for her preschool class to leave the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum after a field trip, and Anna was not quite ready to go, she resorted to a learned behavior.  

Screams echoed, tears flew and stress accumulated.  

It was a painful situation for Anna, museum education staff, and Anna’s preschool teacher.  This scenario happened after every class visit to the Museum.  

But you are changing the odds

This all changed upon the fourth visit.  

Students began cleaning up in preparation of leaving.  Anna joined in.  

As coats were being passed out, Anna happily agreed to take hers.  

And then as the class filed out the door to the bus, Anna waved.  

To everyone’s astonishment, a transformation had taken place.  

Anna unlearned a manipulative behavior.  She exhibited self-control and the ability to self-regulate.  

What sparked the behavioral transformation? 

Anna was one of dozens of children who were given the opportunity to participate in a new museum school readiness initiative.  As part of a collaboration between United Way and three local childcare agencies. The museum invites children, who are primarily from low-income families, to attend six free field trips to the museum.  Because of your help, children who may not have normally visited the museum now get the chance to have the experience and build much needed skills for kindergarten and future academic success.  

As part of the program, Anna spent time in a new museum exhibit called "The Early Learning Junction."  From imaginative play, to sharing, reading, communication, problem-solving and gross motor coordination, Anna and fellow students learned vital skills that will benefit them tremendously in the years to come.  

The museum offers an informal learning environment that provides a sense of freedom that allows for creative expression.  

Creativity is important because it fosters mental growth in children by providing opportunities for trying out new ideas, and new ways of thinking and problem solving. 

Children like Anna, who start kindergarten lacking social, developmental, cognitive and language skills begin formal education behind their peers group are less likely to catch up before third grade.  

We cannot help these children without your support.  Please give a gift today.  Students like Anna are relying on us!