For Immediate Release: December 16, 2020
Contact: [email protected]
Clinton Foundation’s Too Small to Fail initiative announces new partnerships and resources to promote early learning and support families this holiday season
Partners such as Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, BELLA+CANVAS, Dollar General Literacy Foundation, the National Black Child Development Institute, Univision, and more are providing resources, distributing books, and encouraging families to talk, read, and sing together.
On Thursday, December 17 at 4:00 p.m. ET, Too Small to Fail and the Born This Way Foundation are launching a new “Let’s Share Kindness” toolkit and co-hosting a virtual event focused on how parents and caregivers can instill kindness in children during the early years. Speakers include Clinton Foundation Vice Chair Chelsea Clinton, Born This Way Foundation’s Executive Director Maya Enista Smith, Khloe Kares’ Founder Khloe Thompson, Kennedy Krieger Institute’s Dr. Mirian Ofonedu, U.S. Paralympic Alpine Skier Stephanie Victor, and New York Times Bestselling Authors Peter Reynolds and Andrea Davis Pinkney; with special appearance by Sesame Street Muppet Abby Cadabby. Register for event here.
New York, NY – Today, Too Small to Fail, the Clinton Foundation’s early childhood initiative, announced new partnerships that will promote early learning this holiday season and beyond. Too Small to Fail ‘s national and community programmatic partners across the country are coming together to provide parents and caregivers with tools and resources, surround families with language-rich environments, and encourage meaningful interactions to help children learn from birth.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the potential negative impact on young children’s early brain development and education are staggering. With many early childhood programs closed and the limitations of at home care, parents and caregivers are stretched thin, and Too Small to Fail is focused on innovative solutions to support families and mitigate young children’s potential learning loss.
Together with partners, Too Small to Fail is working to help parents prepare their children for kindergarten by meeting families where they are, including in shopping centers, laundromats, food distribution centers, diaper banks, and more.
New efforts that are supporting parents and caregivers and promoting early learning include:
Early learning messaging in Westfield shopping centers nationwide
In partnership with Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, families in Westfield shopping centers this winter will be able to see Too Small to Fail’s early learning messages that are displayed on The Westfield Network, Westfield’s digital out-of-home media network. Featured video spots will promote and encourage parents and caregivers to share special everyday moments through talking, reading, and singing with their children. Videos include several 10- and 60-second spots, as well as static ads prompting fun, language-rich interactions between children and their caregivers.
In addition to digital signage, Too Small to Fail and select Westfield centers will include early math and literacy messages in upcoming Kids Markets at Westfield Galleria at Roseville (Sacramento, CA) and Westfield Garden State Plaza (Paramus, NJ). Each market will incorporate content from Too Small to Fail that will encourage parents to talk, count, read, and play as they walk around and are designed to spark family conversations about winter-themed items they will see, as well as fun facts about animals. The starting suite of ads and resources can be found here.
Distributing free books and masks
Too Small to Fail has partnered with the National Black Child Development Institute (NBCDI), clothing company BELLA+CANVAS, and the American Psychological Association’s children’s book publisher Magination Press, to reach Black children and families with books and face masks to keep children healthy and learning through the holiday season. Through a generous grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, nearly 13,000 books from Magination Press’ Terrific Toddler series—as well as other children’s books written by diverse authors—will be distributed through NBCDI’s network of affiliates in communities across the country. Additionally, 200,000 children’s masks donated by BELLA+CANVAS are also being distributed to families served by NBCDI.
Creating a “Healthy Holiday Toolkit”
As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, many families will not be able to have traditional holiday gatherings and are preparing for a unique holiday season. Too Small to Fail has created a “Healthy Holidays Messaging & Activity Toolkit,” designed to support parents and caregivers with tips and resources on how they can make the most of the holiday season by bonding with their children, along with other loved ones—near and far.
This Healthy Holidays Messaging & Activity Kit includes key messages and activity ideas for families, and social media tools for organizations to use to encourage healthy holidays and early learning. In the toolkit, Too Small to Fail also has provided a list of holiday-themed books and other educational resources to share with families across the country.
Too Small x Born This Way Foundation: Let’s Share Kindness Virtual Event for Families
On Thursday, December 17, at 4 p.m. Too Small to Fail and the Born This Way Foundation are co-hosting a virtual event focused on how parents and caregivers can instill kindness in children during the early years through language-rich conversations, songs, and stories. Speakers will include the Clinton Foundation Vice Chair Chelsea Clinton, Born This Way Foundation’s Executive Director Maya Enista Smith, Khloe Kares’ Founder Khloe Thompson, Kennedy Krieger Institute’s Dr. Mirian Ofonedu, U.S. Paralympic Alpine Skier Stephanie Victor, and New York Times Bestselling Authors Peter Reynolds and Andrea Davis Pinkney; with special appearance by Sesame Street Muppet Abby Cadabby.
Speakers will share their perspectives on why it’s important to cultivate kindness in children starting at a young age and feature real stories of kindness shown by people of all ages. Too Small to Fail and Born This Way Foundation will also launch a new “Let’s Share Kindness” toolkit filled with fun and simple tips and ideas on how families can create and practice a culture of kindness—both at home and in their neighborhoods.
Distributing Spanish-language resources with Univision
Building on their longstanding partnership, Too Small to Fail and Univision are supporting Hispanic families during the holidays, with a focus on helping parents strengthen early learning at home. As part of their recurring series of monthly segments on Despierta America, Univision’s network morning show, Too Small to Fail and Univision have developed two feature segments on safe, holiday-related activities––from cooking holiday meals to holidays arts & crafts––that parents and young children can do together that strengthen family bonds, encourage creativity, and support early learning. In addition, during the month of December, Univision and Too Small to Fail are distributing three holiday-themed text message tips, prompts, and activity ideas per week to the approximately 54,000 parents who subscribe to the partners’ free text service.
Local community-based efforts
Through its network of “Talking is Teaching” community partners across the country, Too Small to Fail is supporting efforts on the ground to get early learning tools and resources into the hands of families this holiday season. In Columbia County, NY, Too Small to Fail partner Greater Hudson Promise Neighborhood is hosting a family holiday gift drive. Their staff and the mayor of Hudson, NY will dress in Santa suits and deliver gifts, including the “Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing” Indoor Activities Kit. In Elgin, IL, the Elgin Partnership for Early Learning will host a holiday drive-through food event on December 15. At the event, 500 families will receive early childhood resource bags that include books, diapers, and the “Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing” Indoor Activities Kit. Families will also receive a holiday box of food from the Northern Illinois Food Bank.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Too Small to Fail has worked to serve vulnerable communities, increase opportunities for all children to learn and thrive, and help mitigate young children’s potential learning loss. Additional efforts and resources launched this year include:
· Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing” Indoor Activities Kit: To help parents and caregivers manage through this challenging time, this toolkit provides ideas to keep little ones engaged and learning while at home through talking, reading, and singing. Available in English and Spanish, the kits include the “Caring for Your Children and Yourself During COVID-19” tip sheet to offer suggestions on how caregivers can reassure and comfort their children as well as support their own self-care. To date, more than 70,000 copies of the Indoor Activities Toolkit have been distributed to Too Small to Fail partners through diaper banks in partnership with the National Diaper Bank Network, food banks in partnership with World Central Kitchen, hospitals, communities, and more.
· More than 70,000 books distributed: Thanks to the generosity of Too Small to Fail’s publishing partners––including Penguin Young Readers, Scholastic, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, free books have been distributed to under-resourced families through food distribution centers, diaper banks, juvenile justice centers, and hospitals since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
· “Letters from Little Ones” program: A new partnership between Too Small to Fail and WH SeniorLink encourages families to send handwritten letters to older adults living in New York City––promoting early writing skills and intergenerational connections.
· “Lunch & Learn” webinars: In partnership with Inclusion Matters by Shane’s Inspiration, Too Small to Fail hosted two “Lunch & Learn” webinars for caregivers and early childhood educators. The virtual webinars featured guest speakers who shared insights on how to create literacy-rich home environments and ways to keep children of all abilities engaged and learning while indoors.
“As families continue to navigate this uncertain time, Too Small to Fail recognizes an increased need to meet them where they are and support them with information and educational resources to mitigate the impact of pandemic-era early learning loss,” said Jane Park, director of Too Small to Fail. “Our partners are critical in expanding our reach to families and we are truly grateful for their support in creating meaningful learning moments for children.”
Research shows that nearly 60 percent of American children enter kindergarten unprepared, lagging behind their peers in critical language and literacy skills. Inequalities in income create additional structural challenges for children and families; research shows that, on average, children from lower-income families hear millions fewer words than their higher-income counterparts. But simple, everyday interactions with young children from birth––like talking, reading, and singing––can build their vocabularies, prepare them for school, and lay a strong foundation for lifelong learning. The first three years of life are the most critical for vocabulary development because the brain is best able to absorb language during this period.
About Too Small to Fail
Too Small to Fail, the early childhood initiative of the Clinton Foundation, promotes early brain and language development by supporting parents and caregivers with tools to talk, read, and sing with their young children from birth. Today, almost 60 percent of children in the United States start kindergarten unprepared, lagging behind their peers in critical language and reading skills. Through partnerships with pediatricians, hospitals, faith-based leaders, community-based organizations, businesses, entertainment industry leaders, and others, Too Small to Fail is meeting parents where they are to help them prepare their children for success in school and beyond. Whether at the pediatrician's office or the playground, Too Small to Fail aims to make small moments big by creating opportunities for meaningful interactions anytime, anywhere. Learn more at www.toosmall.org.
About the Clinton Foundation
Building on a lifetime of public service, President Clinton established the Clinton Foundation on the simple belief that everyone deserves a chance to succeed, everyone has a responsibility to act, and we all do better when we work together. For nearly two decades, those values have energized the work of the Foundation in overcoming complex challenges and improving the lives of people across the United States and around the world.
As an operating foundation, we work on issues directly or with strategic partners from the business, government, and nonprofit sectors to create economic opportunity, improve public health, and inspire civic engagement and service. Our programs are designed to make a real difference today while serving as proven models for tomorrow. The goal of every effort is to use available resources to get better results faster – at the lowest possible cost.
We firmly believe that when diverse groups of people bring resources together in the spirit of true cooperation, transformative ideas will emerge to drive life-changing action.