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

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Guilford Basics