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Parents, not politicians, to lead a revolution in American education

Charleston, SC – The news isn’t encouraging.

According to the National Science Board, its Commission on Precollege Education in Mathematics, Science and Technology assessed the state of United States precollege education nearly a quarter of a century ago, and found it wanting. It set a new goal: US precollege achievement should be the “best in the world by 1995”.

As a nation, we haven’t met that goal. “Not only are [US students] not the first,” the NSB says, referring to a 2004 report, “but by the time they reach their senior year, even the most advanced US students perform at or near the bottom on international assessments.”

Even appalling statistics can seem remote. Don’t let yourself be lulled. This is the world your child is living in, and she’s starting out near the bottom rung of the intellectual ladder.

What’s a loving parent to do?

One possible answer is early education. “Most advanced nations already invest in early education,” said Dr. Donna Shalala, president of the University of Miami, in a 2004 Committee for Economic Development report. “All across Europe, early education and care are already part of the national infrastructure … Asian countries have long valued early education of their youngsters.”

Federal and state governments have estimated it will require an extra $16 to $27 billion in new funding to extend publicly funded pre-kindergarten to all 3- and 4 year-olds in the US. (In other words, such a program isn’t likely to emerge soon.)

If you’re weary of hearing desperation in politicians’ and educators’ voices in the face of public demands for improvements in education while your child falls further behind in an increasingly global society, it might be time to do something on your own… and it need not cost $16 billion.

Try $34.95 per month.

“Early environments and attachments strongly influence child development,” write Jack Shonkoff and Deborah Phillips in the Committee on Integrating the Science of Early Childhood Development’s 2005 book From Neurons to Neighborhoods, “and parents are children’s primary teachers.”

Stacey Bryant and her twin sister Tracey Bryant Stuckey know the power of those words firsthand.

“Growing up, Tracey and I attended one of the lowest-performing school districts in South Carolina,” Bryant remembers. “Our teachers did the best they could with few resources, but it was our mother, a certified early childhood teacher, who worked daily with us to learn. She used every moment she could to teach us something, and without that we would be different people today.”

The sisters, one of whom later went on to become a kindergarten teacher certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, have made it their mission to revolutionize the education of every American child… and their primary tool is you.

A revolution led by parents

“Now parents can make that kind of difference for their children whether they can afford the best schools or not,” says Bryant, now the chief visionary officer and co-founder of Wiggle Giggle Learn, a new company specializing in an easy, step-by-step online program and learning community designed to guide parents to become their little ones’ first teacher. “They don’t have to be certified teachers, they can just follow an easy and affordable program, and talk with our early childhood experts. That’s inspiring to me!”

The Wiggle Giggle Learn program is designed to teach children from birth to age five to love to learn and to learn successfully, priming them for academic and career success later in life… and leveling the international playing field in the process.

At first, some are surprised at the idea of educating infants. “It’s never too early to learn,” responds Stuckey, the company’s chief creative learning officer. “In fact, it’s essential! Children begin learning even before they’re born, and early interactions play a vital role in brain development. By age three or so, the brain’s cells have made most of their connections to other cells. Your baby’s day-to-day experiences help decide how those cells connect to each other. If she doesn’t have certain kinds of experiences, some areas of her brain will not make the necessary connections.”

Wiggle Giggle Learn plans to launch its full program on September 1, 2007. Beginning on July 1, though, the founders have announced that a free pilot program will be available to parents of newborns, infants, and toddlers of up to two years of age. In exchange for their feedback, participants will be able to access the same kind of material that will be available to members come September.

Interested parents, grandparents, and others can find out more about Wiggle Giggle Learn’s program and learning community at


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