Over the years, Knowledge Universe has had the privilege of partnering with hundreds of thousands of young children as they’ve enjoyed their first experiences in community involvement. Through various charitable campaigns, these children, their families and the teachers in their classrooms have raised awareness and millions of dollars for a variety of local and national organizations.
People often ask us about when children are ready to serve their communities. While all children are different, we think starting them earlier is not only developmentally appropriate, but key to building a foundation of giving that will last through childhood and into adulthood.
Research tells us (and our own experiences have confirmed) that children who participate in charitable activities benefit in many ways:
- They experience a sense of connection to their communities.
- They develop social responsibility.
- They become aware of diversity in their communities.
- They learn about cooperation, problem-solving and citizenship.
- They learn about cause-and-effect.
- They build confidence in knowing they can make a difference.
Starting small is key to introducing community service to your own child. Recycling at home is a great way to incorporate community service into your daily routine. Something else parents can do to encourage volunteerism is to volunteer, themselves. Spend time at your child’s school, and engage your child in conversation about community service.
With today being Martin Luther King Day, the tragic situation in Haiti, and this country and the world still languishing in a difficult economic climate, there is a keen focus on charitable activities and need; you might find right now to be the perfect time to introduce your child to the rewards that come from giving back.
Oh, and our families at The Grove School will have numerous community service opportunities throughout the year. A focus on volunteerism makes up a significant part of the connective tissue between The Grove School, the children and families we serve, our educators, and the communities that we are so excited to be a part of.
See you out in the community!
By now you have undoubtedly seen footage from Haiti, where a major earthquake on January 12th caused catastrophic damage throughout most of the country. The death toll could reach into the tens of thousands, and survivors were left with an almost universal lack of access to emergency medical care, clean drinking water, and shelter. As many as two million children are affected.
Knowledge Universe is supporting relief efforts through two Portland-based, international relief organizations: Mercy Corps and Medical Teams International (formerly NW Medical Teams). We have made contributions to these organizations’ efforts to assist children in the aftermath of this natural disaster.
KU is also working to deliver thousands of articles of children’s clothing to aid groups in Haiti, in keeping with the company’s long history of supporting organizations that provide for children.
Please leave a comment if you have any questions, concerns or want to talk more about our efforts to assist with this devastating tragedy.
With only days until The Grove School welcomes its charter families in Plano and Cary, I’m reminded of the first time my wife and I dropped off our daughter at preschool. Hannah was about as old as the youngest children at The Grove School, and that first day was a profoundly emotional one for Stacey and me.
We were living thousands of miles from our families and, as a result, the three of us were a particularly tight-knit unit. I don’t think Stacey and I even went to dinner or a movie more than once or twice in Hannah’s first two years. So, to show up one day for the purposes of leaving her in the care of someone else, was beyond overwhelming. Luckily, Hannah had a wonderful teacher who helped us get through those first trying days. For us, the fundamental concern was that our daughter was safe and happy every day; we were relieved upon seeing the way Hannah’s teacher interacted with her and the other children.
I know that very concern will be on the minds of parents next week. What we hope to do at The Grove School, next week and every day after, is make drop-off a happy time for your entire family. Children will be eager to see friends and teachers, and excited about the fun and exciting things they will do and learn during the day. Parents will be happy knowing their children will be in a safe, nurturing environment where they are engaged by caring and expert teaching staff, and where all children have access to wonderful experiences throughout each day.
For those of you who are taking your child to preschool for the first time next week: We are honored that you have chosen us, we know how anxious you might be, and we are confident that you will soon consider The Grove School to be a positive and essential part of your community and your family’s life.
While in Washington, D.C. last month, we had the opportunity to meet with several members of Congress and their staffs. Every senator and congressman we sat down with understood the importance of a child’s early years, and showed real appreciation for what Knowledge Universe and other providers do to serve children and families. Most of the members had championed important early childhood education programs in their respective states when they held state office.
Early childhood education works because of partnerships. The education and care we provide to young children is part of a community effort to ensure quality experiences for all children. In turn, our school-readiness emphasis at The Grove School not only benefits the children we serve, but the schools and school systems that will serve these same children down the road. Together, The Grove School, families, primary schools, local, state and national policy makers, and community organizations are all partners in creating a world of educated and curious children who are primed for a lifetime of success.
Community is fundamental to The Grove School, and we are eager to join the communities of Cary, NC and Plano, TX. We are looking forward to meeting those of you in Cary and Plano over the coming weeks and learning more about what makes these places so special for children.
An advantage we have with The Grove School is the ability to leverage the resources of a national expert in child development and education. Knowledge Universe is our taproot, that strong, central root that anchors a tree. Because of our relationship to them, we can be the nimble offshoot that grows quickly and purposefully in response to the needs of our neighborhood schools and the families we serve.
Knowledge Universe has cared for and educated more children than any other single entity in the country, and while we learn something new every day, we know children and education.
Hundreds of thousands of children have learned their colors and shapes, how to read and write, and been prepared for their academic careers at a Knowledge Universe center or school. We’re so proud of that fact, and we are very much looking forward to sharing those important milestones with the children and families of The Grove School.
When the first two schools open in January 2010, our first corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative will focus on tree planting.
We think there are a number of reasons why tree planting is a good fit for The Grove School. It’s something that benefits the local community. It strongly connects to our promise to promote a healthy mind, body and planet. It encourages participation by children, teachers, family, and community members. And there are a number of ways it ties back to our curriculum.
As with any CSR initiative we undertake, tree planting is something that children can do (with adult help, of course!). It also nicely demonstrates cause-and-effect, both in the way a tree grows and in the way a project like this can make a positive effect in a neighborhood.
And of course, we’re THE GROVE SCHOOL—we love trees!
Each day is different, but I help make sure The Grove School is supporting the communities in which we operate, and that our employees have a voice and a level of engagement in who we support as a company. Philanthropically, we aim our resources towards organizations that provide for or advocate for access to quality experiences for children.
I also manage our relationships with primary, secondary and post-secondary schools, and the organizations and policy bodies that make decisions affecting education at all levels.
One of the things we think is important at The Grove School is building relationships with neighborhood primary schools, so that we can partner with parents to best prepare Grove School children for their next steps as lifelong learners. Preparation is beneficial to children and families, and to our local public and private schools, and we are really looking forward to these partnerships.