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The Palmetto Basics Campaign is inspired by the fact that 80% of brain growth happens in the first three years of life.

The Basics are 5 fun, simple and powerful ways that every parent and caregiver can give every child a great start in life! Even though The Basics are simple and for everyone, they are actually based on decades of research from scientists and early childhood experts. The Basics work!

Palmetto Basics library event sponsored by Spartanburg First Steps, a backbone organization in launching the Palmetto Basics.

Why We Love The Basics

The Basics provide common, simple language for the important experiences each child needs for healthy brain growth and school readiness.

The Basics make LIFE the program. Everyday moments become learning opportunities when parents and caregivers understand the 5 Basics.

The Basics are easy for every family to understand and use, regardless of education, language, or socio-economic status.

The Basics serve families, caregivers, organizations, childcare providers, and more.

The Basics are FREE and require no special toys or equipment.

The Basics reinforces positive things many families are already doing, which helps parents and caregivers feel more confident and become more intentional.

The Basics happen within the context of relationship, which is key for secure attachment and healthy brain growth.

Our Story

In 2016, a small group of South Carolina early childhood professionals heard about a new community messaging campaign out of Boston called “The Boston Basics.” The South Carolina group had been working for many months toward finding better ways to promote school readiness. It was challenging to find simple language and practical, evidence-based principles that all parents and caregivers could understand and apply. The Basics provided the answer.

Dr. Ron Ferguson speaking at a Palmetto Basics Lunch & Launch event sponsored by Greenville First Steps.
Dr. Ferguson presenting at a Palmetto Basics Lunch & Launch event sponsored by Pickens County First Steps.

Founder Dr. Ron Ferguson, the faculty director of the Achievement Gap Initiative (AGI) at Harvard University, had done research showing that cognitive skill gaps between children of different racial, ethnic, and parental-education groups were very apparent by just two years old. He began exploring how to contribute to the large body of work that was already underway to support early learning and brain development, but he wanted to reach across whole communities to impact every child, starting at birth. In 2017, Dr. Ferguson traveled to the Upstate of South Carolina for events to help launch The Basics in our state.

There are now dozens of communities across the country and the world who have adopted The Basics and are part of the Basics Learning Network (BLN.) The Palmetto Basics is proud to be one of the earliest members of this network! Organizations across multiple counties in South Carolina have become “Champions for Children” by promoting The Palmetto Basics in their agencies, classrooms, faith communities, and businesses. To learn more or join our movement, click the button below.

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