SAVANNAH, GA – March 6, 2020 – Greenbriar Children’s Center and The Savannah Early Childhood Foundation are hosting a very special screening of the documentary No Small Matter from 9-11:30 a.m. Monday, April 13, in The Plantation Ballroom at The Landings. A complimentary continental breakfast will be served.
No Small Matter is the first feature documentary to explore the most overlooked, underestimated, and powerful force for change in America today: early childhood education. Through poignant stories and surprising humor, the film lays out the overwhelming evidence for the importance of the first five years of life, and reveals how our failure to act on that evidence has resulted in an everyday crisis for American families, and a slow-motion catastrophe for our country.
Both organizations are delighted to host this very important documentary for The Landings residents. The film brings together what is known about early brain development, the importance of quality early life experiences and what happens not just to the child and family but what happens to the community and our country if we don’t get this right. Paul Fisher, the Board president for the Savannah Early Childhood Foundation, (SECF) emphasizes that “SECF and Parent University have created an extremely successful, one-of-a-kind program to enhance parenting skills for parents of children, birth to 3 years, which is the center of this incredible film. A ‘must see’ to frame the vision of success for our community.” Strong support is also expressed by Gena Taylor, the executive director of Greenbriar Children’s center, “We urge the Savannah community to come together to view this enlightening film and join Greenbriar in becoming champions for our local youth and their families.” The Landings community has many individuals that are working diligently with both organizations. Greenbriar’s Board of Directors has five Landings members, including Melissa Emery, board president; Clarence Davis, board treasurer; Dick de Wilde, Anne Marie Darsney, and Becky Hallowell. The Savannah Early Childhood Foundation board includes Paul Fisher, Ben Gustafson, Lou Molella, Morgan McAlpin, Don Mayer, Susan Kleine and Anthony Cook.
Over the last 20 years, a revolution in understanding of early childhood has led to one, inescapable conclusion: the experiences we have in the first five years of life shape our brains and bodies in profound and lasting ways. It’s no longer about “nature versus nurture,” but how the two work together to shape who we become. During those formative years, things like exercise, nutrition, the development of healthy habits, mental stimulation and teaching appropriate emotional responses are essential. Children who are not properly supported during these early years have a greatly reduced chance of being able to develop those facets later in life. Laying a strong foundation and every day, back-and-forth interactions with loving, supportive adults are necessary to build a healthy brain.
Even as experts have come to understand what children truly need to thrive, social, economic, and demographic changes have made it harder for parents to give it to them. In 1950, just 12 percent of all moms with children under age five were in the workplace; today, it’s 65 percent, a huge change, with no equivalent shift in public policy, wages, or attitudes. The stress of America’s approach to childcare takes an enormous financial and emotional toll on families, and it’s all happening while the child’s brain is growing faster than it ever will again.
Higher income parents have more money and time to invest in their children’s early care and education; as a result, children from wealthier families start kindergarten up to two years ahead of low-income children, a gap in opportunity that becomes a gap in achievement, which only reinforces the cycle of poverty. Children who fall behind in school are more likely to drop out, and high school dropouts are eight times more likely than graduates to end up in prison.
To be optimally effective, early childhood development and education need to be paired with a synergistic emphasis on family empowerment. Supporting parents to break through the cycle of poverty and become advocates for themselves and their children while at the same time providing quality early learning experiences for their children provides a two generational approach that is essential to turning the tide. Both Greenbriar Children’s Center and the Savannah Early Childhood Foundation are organizations that understand this importance.
Greenbriar began its mission 70 years ago of lending helping hands and bringing hope to the hearts of countless Savannah children. As the nonprofit has evolved since its inception, Greenbriar has established several programs that provide our community’s children and their families with the best possible opportunities for good health and development, right from the start. Greenbriar is addressing the critical community need for affordable, quality early childhood education through the enhancement of their two early learning centers Windy’s Preschool and W.W. Law Learning Center and strategic planning that includes the building of a new early learning center on their 12 acre campus in the heart of west Savannah. At the same time, Greenbriar supports parents through their Family Preservation program and strives to develop an oasis of services for families on their main campus.
Established in 2011, the Savannah Early Childhood Foundation is a first-of-its-kind organization working to stitch together community resources to ensure that all Savannah children are ready for school. Combining public and private resources, SECF is uniquely focused on helping parents create high quality learning environments for their children starting at birth through age five.
Everyone is invited and encouraged to attend this powerful documentary on Monday April 13 from 9 – 11:30 a.m. at the Plantation Ballroom. The event is free and a continental breakfast will be served. To register for this event, contact Anne Marie Darsney by calling 912 598-1465 or e-mail email@example.com.
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