Ensuring a Bright Start

A child’s first five years of life are the most critical time for brain development, but 33 percent of Massachusetts children enter kindergarten unprepared to learn. All children have the potential to succeed in school and in life, but not all children have the same opportunities to realize that potential. Many children lack important support that prepares them for school and academic success. Without it, these children can quickly fall behind and often never catch up. Unless they can read at grade level by third grade, they’re four times less likely to graduate from high school.

Lower income parents, especially those who speak little or no English, have limited education or are unfamiliar with the culture, often feel incapable of participating in their children’s education. They depend on the public schools as the sole educator of their children. The unfortunate result is that children from these homes often start school one or two years developmentally behind their higher-income peers.

Helping parents succeed as their child’s first, best teachers is central. Parents and caregivers need tools and resources to support their children's education, development, and well-being.

United Way supports:

  • Access to quality childcare and early education
  • Early Intervention Assessment
  • Kindergarten readiness
  • Early childhood literacy
  • Social-emotional learning opportunities

UWGNB Initiatives

Baby Bundles Logo

Baby Bundles supports new moms by providing carefully packaged bundles filled with baby essentials like diapers, wipes, bibs, and more! Plus, important information about early childhood development, literacy, and local programs and services. Powered by Women United.

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bbt logo

Delivers expert tips, child development resources and information about local events directly into the hands of anyone caring for children 0 – 8.  Bright by Text is free and available in English and Spanish. Powered by Women United

Sign up now by texting GREAT to 274448.

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wash & Read logo

Creates reading corners at area laundromats for children to read while there and provides free books to take home and build their own library. This effort focuses on increasing literacy and developing a love of reading. Powered by Women United.

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Community Impact Partners

PACE Head Start and Early Head Start provides family-centered child development programming for over 264 income-eligible families with children from birth to age 5 living in the Greater New Bedford area.The program is at no cost to families who qualify. Part and full-day center-based services are available Monday through Friday part-year and year-round.

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Community Collaborations

The New Bedford Birth-Grade 3 Partnership is a collaborative effort of the public schools and community partners to support early childhood.

The Massachusetts Early Childhood Funder Collaborative is comprised of individuals and foundations supporting the early childhood sector in the Commonwealth. We work to share information and best practices in early childhood philanthropy.


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The Southcoast Coalition for Early Childhood Education is dedicated to ensuring that every child has the best start in life and enters kindergarten ready to learn and thrive.

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