Dreams and Opportunities for Children
Every child deserves a legacy

"One hundred years from now, it will not matter, what my bank account was, how
big my house was, or what kind of car I drove. But the world may be a little
better, because I was important in the life of a child." Forest Witcraft

The Facts

By age five, a child’s brain has reached 95% of its adult size and is four times
its size at birth. A toddler’s brain has twice as many connections among its 100
billion neurons as the brain of an adult.

Nobel Laureate economist James Heckman has concluded that one-half of the
achievement gap evident at the end of high school is present before children
start kindergarten.
High-quality early childhood programs have been credited with reducing the
likelihood of a child being held back a grade, needing special education
services, dropping out of high school, and even becoming a teen parent and
living in poverty.

The Initiative

The early childhood initiative announced by Gilmore Foundation seeks to improve
the state of early childhood education in Monroe County , where too many
children come to school unprepared to learn.

Preschool children do not need to be taught using the same methods and materials
that are used with first and second graders. The challenge for parents,
grandparents, preschool teachers, or childcare providers is to develop
enjoyable, educational language activities that also engage and develop
children’s interests, social competencies, and emotional health.

 “Many children simply do not have early opportunities to develop a love for
language and reading. Not having those opportunities can have devastating
effects on a child’s success in school. For many children, being left behind
does not begin in elementary school — it begins in the years between the crib
and the classroom.”

“As an advocate of life-long learning in Mississippi , I propose significant
reforms affecting early childhood education. A child who is exposed to letters,
words, number and conversations will be more ready to learn, and a child who is
not, will face sometimes insurmountable obstacles in learning. While the best
place to receive this early childhood education is from loving parents who are
aware of ways to foster a child’s positive development, we must recognize that
the ideal is not always attainable or practical.”

The initiative expects to reach over 3,000 children and their families the first
year. Our goal is to give families the tools necessary to see that their child
has the opportunity to succeed in the first major step in their life. It is a
special day when a child enters the ‘ Big School ’. We want to make sure they
are prepared for this day and the life that lies ahead of them.

The program brings a number of private and public partners together for a common
cause- Giving our Children Hope, Dreams and Opportunities.
The Partners are:

Gilmore Foundation, Inc.
Early Childhood Institute at Mississippi State University
Excel by Five
Phil Hardin Foundation