How to Read and Discuss Stories with Infants

Pam Bacot with Reach Out and Read Carolinas spoke to WFMY News 2 about how to Read and Discuss Stories with infants. Her tips include:

  • Find interactive books to read. Tactile books with flaps, mirrors, textures, and sounds help keep babies engaged.
  • Do a “picture walk” and simply talk about the pictures you see and or make up any story you want.
  • Incorporate reading into your child’s bedtime routine. Reading before bed gives your baby a chance to calm down and connect with you.

See the full segment here.

Triad Moms on Main Highlights Ways to Count, Group and Compare

In a blog post for Triad Moms on Main, Ariel Everett with Greensboro Day School wrote about ways to Count, Group and Compare with young children to help build early math skills. Included in her tips are:

  • At the grocery store, count the produce as you place it into bags. For example, you can say, “we need four red and three green apples.” Count each color individually as you place them into the bag. Then, after you get home, you can discuss how many there are in total.
  • Include your child in on cooking and baking. You can give them tasks where they help scoop a certain amount of ingredients into the bowl. Make sure you count aloud with them!
  • Explore what happens when you add or take away items from a group. For example, at snack time ask your child: “You have three crackers. How many will you have if you eat one?”

For more tips, read the blog post here.

Triad Moms on Main Spotlight Explore Through Movement and Play

In a blog post for Triad Moms on Main, Shelli Scott wrote about ways parents can take advantage of the nice spring and summer weather to get outside and Explore Through Movement and Play with their infants and toddlers. Included in her tips are:

  • Create nature art: Everyday objects found outside can be turned into a unique piece of art. Grab some paper and glue and have your child make different patterns or even a self-portrait by gluing common items, like leaves and sticks to the paper. You’ll have a one-of-a-kind keepsake too!
  • Stargaze or cloud watch: Let your child’s imagination run with a simple activity of stargazing or watching clouds. You’ll be surprised what they come up with! If your child sees an animal in the clouds, ask some open ended questions to get a conversation flowing: What do you think it ate for lunch today? Where do you think it came from? What is it doing now?

Read the full blog post and all of her suggestions here.

Triad Moms on Main Focus on “Basic” Ways to Reduce Stress

Heather Adams, the director of engagement and literacy initiatives for Ready for School, Ready for Life, wrote a blog post for Triad Moms on Main on ways parents can use The Basics to help reduce both their child’s stress and their own. Her tips include:

  • Have a routine. Settle into a consistent schedule for daily activities like feeding, naps, bathing, reading and bedtime.
  • Go easy on yourself. Life can feel overwhelming and we all make mistakes. Focus on the big picture and be gentle with yourself when things don’t go as planned.

Read the full blog post and see all of Heather’s tips here.

WFMY Highlights the Importance of Play

Shelli Scott, the youth program specialist with the City of Greensboro Parks and Recreation Department, talked to the Good Morning Show about the importance of play in the growth and development of young children. She also provides suggestions on easy ways parents can play and interact with babies to help stimulate their minds and bodies. The segment can be seen here.

WFMY Discusses the Importance of Creating a Routine for Your Child

Janet Howard, program director for “Bringing Out the Best” and a member of The Basics advisory committee spoke with WFMY about the rapid pace of brain growth before age 3 and the importance of everyday interactions to help children learn during that time. She also talked about creating and maintaining a routine to help children Maximize Love, Manage Stress during uncertain times, like the COVID-19 pandemic. The segment can be seen here.

‘The Basics Guilford’ debuts: Five ways to help young children thrive

GREENSBORO — For anyone who has ever wondered what to say or do with a baby or toddler, local early education advocates are offering a simple plan.

The Cemala Foundation and the new local nonprofit Ready For School, Ready for Life, are teaming up with other business and nonprofit groups to promote the “The Basics Guilford.”

Read More at The News and Record

The Cemala Foundation and Ready for School, Ready for Life Bring National Early Childhood Initiative to Guilford County

(Greensboro, N.C.) April 10, 2019 — The Cemala Foundation and Ready for School, Ready for Life are pleased to announce the launch of the Guilford Basics, a local version of a national initiative designed to help ensure all children are prepared to enter school ready to learn. The program supplements the work in early childhood development already being done by Ready for School, Ready for Life and other local nonprofits.

Research shows that 80 percent of a child’s brain development happens before age 3. To better engage these youngest learners and prepare them for school, the Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard University created the Basics — five free, simple yet powerful things adults can do with the children in their lives on a daily basis to help lay the foundation for future success. The Basics are:

  • Maximize Love, Manage Stress
  • Talk, Sing and Point
  • Count, Group and Compare
  • Explore Through Movement and Play
  • Read and Discuss Stories

With this local launch, Guilford County becomes one of more than 30 communities nationwide to have adopted the Basics; other communities include Boston; Chattanooga, Tennessee; and Yonkers, New York.

“I first learned about the Basics a few years ago, and have been impressed with the difference they have made in the lives of young children in other communities,” said Susan S. Schwartz, executive director of The Cemala Foundation and co-chair of the Ready for School, Ready for Life board of directors. “Guilford County already has so many outstanding organizations working to improve the lives of children and families. We believe Guilford Basics is the perfect complement to this existing work by providing simple things all adults can do with the young children in their lives to help them grow and thrive.”

The Cemala Foundation and Ready for School, Ready for Life will now work with doctors’ offices, childcare centers, places of worship and nonprofits focused on children and families to help educate parents and caregivers on the Guilford Basics and how to incorporate them into a family’s daily life.

Guilford Basics was officially launched this morning at an event on the Jamestown campus of Guilford Technical Community College. The event was attended by dozens of county business, governmental and nonprofit leaders as well as faculty and staff in the school’s early childhood education program.



The Guilford Basics are five evidence-based parenting and caregiving practices that can be used in everyday life to benefit young children of all backgrounds across Guilford County. While the program is being coordinated locally by The Cemala Foundation and Ready for School, Ready for Life, the Guilford Basics is part of a broader, national network of communities striving to help all children thrive. More information can be found at

The Basics Guilford Launch Aired on Greensboro Television Network

GREENSBORO, N.C.—The Greensboro Television Network aired The Basics Guilford  launch event. The segment highlighted Susan Schwartz, executive director of The Cemala Foundation, Scott Kinsey, president and CEO of Kindermusik International and Adriana Adams, early literacy implementation manager at Ready for School, Ready for Life.

Each speaker conveyed the importance of implementing The Basics in Guilford County.

“We’re bringing the Basics to Guilford County because it is the perfect complement to the vast array of work that is already being done in our community,” Kinsey said.

Guilford Basics