BRIDGEPORT, CT—At a roundtable discussion today at ABCD, Inc. Congressman Jim Himes announced legislation that creates a national competitive grant initiative to fund early childhood education programs based on the successful model developed by Bridgeport’s Total Learning Program. He was joined by parents, teachers, students, and program directors to discuss the importance of making similar resources available to children throughout the country. The program, run by ABCD, Inc., has been cited by Yale research as several times as effective as conventional Head Start programs.

“In order to educate our children, we have to prepare them for learn,” said Congressman Himes. “Providing a high-quality education—and ensuring students are ready for that education—is critical to ensuring America’s long-term economic competitiveness.”

The Total Learning Program has experienced great success in preparing at-risk students for elementary school. Experts have found that a key to the program’s success is its early, whole-child approach mixed with parental involvement. From nutritional programs to a music component and mental health and literacy academic preparation, this program is consistent with the best knowledge experts have in both the fields of early brain development and child development in general.

In a letter to ABCD leadership Dr. Edward Zigler, the creator of Head Start, said of the Total Learning Program:

“Your Total Learning intervention is as impressive a program as I have encountered over my five decades of work.”

For a copy of Dr. Zigler’s letter, click here, and for an overview of the Total Learning Program, click here.