Our Story

Our community is part of a national Basics Learning Network of communities, all dedicated to The Basics vision. The network is led by The Basics, Inc., a nonprofit organization based in Boston, where the movement began.

Our Vision:

The Basics Vision is a Chattahoochee Valley where infants, toddlers, and preschoolers of all racial/ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds are on track to achieve their full potential--having benefited from early experiences that foster healthy brain development, learning, joy, and resilience.

Our Mission:

The Basics Mission is to pursue both equity and excellence, by building community capacity to engage and support parents and other caregivers of young children in their roles as the most important influences in their children's lives.

National History

The Basics movement began because of three research-based facts:

  1. Early childhood experiences have long-term impacts on brain architecture, kindergarten readiness, and lifetime success.

  2. Cognitive skill gaps between children from different racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds are clear in national data long before kindergarten, by the age of two.

  3. Research on the science of early development provides strong guidance regarding what children need to experience in order to thrive, instead of falling behind early.

Founder Dr. Ron Ferguson was the faculty director of the Achievement Gap Initiative (AGI) at Harvard University, when he first noticed in the national Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (Birth Cohort) that cognitive skill gaps between children of different racial, ethnic, and parental-education groups were very apparent by twenty-four months. He began exploring how to contribute to the large body of work that was already underway to support early learning and brain development, but he wanted to scale across whole communities to reach every child, starting at birth.

The AGI convened a national conference and science advisory committee to formulate five tenets of caregiving practice, now called The Basics Principles, around which to organize The Basics movement. The aim was socioecological saturation, meaning to infuse multiple settings in communities with information, social reinforcements, and regular reminders regarding the benefits of using The Basics Principles routinely in early childhood parenting/caregiving.

The AGI and The Black Philanthropy Fund (an organization of African Americans in Boston) formally launched The Basics movement in Boston in September of 2016 to help prepare children from all backgrounds and across whole neighborhoods to thrive, starting at birth.

The word spread quickly. By December, teams from 11 cities convened in Boston to learn about The Principles, the tools, and the approach. Rather than wait years for Boston to refine the approach, attendees agreed, “We'll figure it out together.” The Basics Learning Network (BLN) was thereby born. It operates under the leadership of The Basics, Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization under the fiscal sponsorship of Third Sector New England (TSNE).

Today, coalitions across dozens of BLN cities, towns, and counties in the US, Brazil, and Australia are engaging their communities, participating in BLN research, and regularly convening to learn, innovate, and share best practices.

Chattahoochee Valley History

The Basics Chattahoochee Valley is a regional, collaborative strategy led by United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley in collaboration with parents and partners across our community seeking to ensure that every child has a great start in life. Our goal is to bring the five Basics Principles to the Chattahoochee Valley and to share their importance in helping create a community where all children thrive.   

Breaking the cycle of generational poverty requires a multi-faceted approach, with a key focus on supporting very young children and their parents to ensure that infants, toddlers, and expecting parents have access to comprehensive child development and support services. The Basics Chattahoochee Valley was created and launched in May 2019 under the vision and leadership of Columbus 2025, our regional strategic plan, and became the first Basics Community in Georgia supported by Collective Impact Grant funds from The Deal CenterIn 2020, the Community Foundation of the Chattahoochee Valley provided three years of operating support for The Basics Chattahoochee Valley, including hiring the first full-time director. In 2021, The Deal Center announced the expansion of their Collective Impact Grant to create a statewide network of Georgia Basics Communities, with technical support and mentorship provided by The Basics Chattahoochee Valley as an early adopter of The Basics. 

The core success of The Basics Chattahoochee Valley lies in engaging, supporting, and building trusting relationships with partners, parents, caregivers, and community leaders. Over the past few years, The Basics Chattahoochee Valley has made tremendous strides in becoming a part of our community’s approach to early learning, care, and development, allowing us to establish deep roots and strong connections across organizations within our community that will only continue to grow over timeThrough continued implementation of The Basics, our work will positively impact the percentage of 3 to 4-year-old children enrolled in Pre-K, the percentage of children who are proficient on kindergarten readiness assessments, and the percentage of students reading proficiently by third grade. We seek to continue to be a regional leader for The Basics in Georgia and across the nation. Together, we will fulfill our mission to ensure that all children in our community have a great start in life.