united way of greater chattanooga

Chattanooga Basics

October 27th, 2016


WHAT DOES CHATTANOOGA BASICS DO? It simplifies early learning for Chattanooga families.

In June of 2016, a group of Chattanoogans attended the Young American Leaders Program at Harvard University, which featured a presentation about the Basics program. 

This group took on the challenge of bringing the program to Chattanooga. They chose to combine forces with existing nonprofits like the Benwood Foundation, United Way, the Community Foundation, and Chattanooga 2.0, as well as businesses and faith community partners to create Chattanooga Basics.  

Lesley Scearce, CEO of United Way of Greater Chattanooga, was a member of this group that attended the Young American Leaders Program.  As a member of the Chattanooga 2.0 Steering Committee and co-chair of the 2.0 Early Childhood Leadership Team, she felt the Basics program could complement other successful early childhood education programs in Chattanooga and dramatically increase the number of kids who enter Kindergarten ready to learn.

“The best part about Chattanooga Basics is that anyone can become an evangelist for early learning,” said Ms. Scearce. “Whether you work for a nonprofit, local business, are active in your fraternity, sorority, or neighborhood association, or just want to help make Chattanooga a better city – we need your help to make sure all our kids get off to a great start.” 

Chattanooga Basics was launched in tandem with the Boston Basics organization, a group started by The Achievement Gap Initiative (AGI) at Harvard University, which is headed by Dr. Ronald Ferguson. His research shows 80% of brain development happens in the first three years of life. During this period, skill gaps between socio-economic, racial, and ethnic groups become clearly apparent

So he developed a five point plan to use that centers on five evidence-based parenting and care-giving core principles. It helps parents engage with their young children and reduce the skill gaps that become apparent between children from different socioeconomic backgrounds by age 3.

These are the five core principles:

1. Maximize love, manage stress;

2. Talk, sing and point;

3. Count, group, and compare;

4. Explore through movement and play; and

5. Read and discuss stories.

Every child from every background can benefit from routinely experiencing basic learning experiences. Therefore, the Basics work through a broad range of institutions to ensure that every parent and caregiver is fully supported by family and friends to use these basic practices in everyday life.

United Way is proud to have been instrumental in bringing this program to the Greater Chattanooga area.  Learn more by calling Cara Woodall at 423-752-0312 or email carawoodall@uwchatt.org.  

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Kickoff 2018

Join us for our 2018 Kickoff!


The United Way of Greater Chattanooga would like to cordially invite you to our 2018 Campaign Kickoff Luncheon at the Chattanooga Convention Center on August 21, 2018 from 11:30am-1:00pm.

We are excited to impact so many lives with your help. Thanks to people like you, we believe a connected community changes everything!

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