A strategy for
whole communities

to support vibrant learning and brain development among infants and toddlers.

Fun, simple, and powerful. Starting at birth.

The Basics movement aims to help every family help every child reach their full potential.

The Basics Principles

The Basics Principles combine scientific rigor with broad coverage of key domains of early-childhood development. They are simple enough to commit to memory for regular use.

Maximize Love, Manage Stress

Warm and responsive parenting lays the foundation for healthy social, emotional and cognitive development.

Talk, Sing, and Point

Talking, singing and pointing support oral language development and later reading ability.

Count, Group, and Compare

Everyday activities focused on amounts and categories promote early math and reasoning skills.

Explore through Movement and Play

Movement and play build strong bodies and active imaginations.

Read and Discuss Stories

From infancy, frequent and interactive book reading is associated with cognitive and language development.

Socio-Ecological Saturation

A local backbone organization in each affiliated community recruits and equips partner organizations from multiple sectors. The organizations, in turn, engage parents and caregivers with information and supports for incorporating The Basics Principles into everyday family routines. For example:

The Basics Learning Network

The Basics Learning Network of communities is collectively building an international movement to support early learning and brain development for all children.

The Basics Adirondacks

The Basics Adirondacks is a program of Adirondack Foundation’s Birth to Three Alliance (BT3). A coalition working to improve the life of every child under four in the Adirondack region of northern New York. Our program director coordinates this Alliance of key stakeholders, service agency representatives, and providers all focused on three areas: Healthy Children, Strong Families, and High-Quality Early Learning. We use the messages of the Basics to empower parents, caregivers, and educators to help children get the best possible start in life.

Contact: Kate Ryan; kate.ryan@adkfoundation.org

Learn more
The Basics Alexandria

Kids’ First Years, the Backbone of The Basics Alexandria, is a partnership of people and organizations in Alexandria who work together to make sure our city provides comprehensive support, care, and education for all of its young children and their families. Additionally, we help families find opportunities, care, and learning experiences for young children. This includes resources for expecting mothers, childcare, healthcare, special needs services, playgroups, and preschool.

Contact: Maria McDonald; mmcdonald@kidsfirstyears.org

Learn more
The Basics Amarillo

The Basics Amarillo is led by a local collective group called Operation First Five who tackle tough issues facing families who have children birth through 5. We seek to build a community where every family and every child feels safe, cared for, supported, and nurtured.

Contact: Victoria Hughes; victoriahughes012@gmail.com

Learn more
The Basics Fulton

Our collective strives to address the barriers facing our children and their families in communities burdened with poverty, lack of supportive services, and poor school outcomes. Our leaders and partners understand that this is a “systemic issue that must be addressed with innovative solutions”. The Basics provides the tools needed to continue our work and to broaden our reach into our priority communities through social engagement to address the barriers facing our children and their families.

Contact: Janet Adams; janet0498@gmail.com

The Basics Bartow

The Backbone organization leading The Basics Bartow is Advocates for Children. Advocates for Children’s mission is to strengthen our community through education, advocacy, and prevention, empowering families to be free from child abuse. The Basics Bartow aims to equip families, caregivers, social service agencies, child-care centers, health care providers, resource centers, literacy partners and other local community partners with the simple, yet powerful message of The Basics.

Contact: Jessica McAdams; jessica@advochild.org

Learn more
The Basics Lowcountry

United Way of the Lowcountry serves as the Backbone of The Basics Lowcountry and the Lowcountry Early Childhood Coalition, a group of public, private and non-profit organizations who are working together to educate our community on the importance of early childhood development and to provide solutions to parents and caregivers to make sure their young loved ones have the best opportunity for success.

Learn more
The Basics Rock County

The Backbone organziation leading The Basics Rock County is Stateline Community Foundation. Stateline manages 200 funds that enhance the Stateline Area. Together with our generous donors, we create a strong culture of philanthropy that positively impacts our community.

Contact: Jessica Austin; jessica@statelinecf.com

Learn more
The Basics Boston

The Basics Boston, based in The Basics, Inc., began as a collaboration between the Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard and the Black Philanthropy Fund. A current focus is socioecological saturation in the East Boston neighborhood, where a coalition representing multiple sectors aims to make East Boston an exemplar for other communities. Eastern Bank is the largest local funder. A citywide emphasis for Boston Basics is working with health care organizations and childcare centers, supported by Boston Children’s Hospital and others.

Contact: Nimrah Bakhsh; nimrah.bakhsh@thebasics.org

Learn more
The Bridgeport Basics

Bridgeport Prospers, an initiative of United Way of Coastal Fairfield County, is part of the national Cradle to Career Network which is a network of collective impact initiatives across the United States that focus on improving outcomes for children and youth from cradle to career. Bridgeport Prospers leads The Basics Movement by providing resources to be disseminated into the community.

Contact: Jayson-Ann Johnson; jjohnson@unitedwaycfc.org

Learn more
The Basics Brooklyn

The Basics Brooklyn serves as the foundation of various community initiatives and projects. We provide essential support and resources to our local youngsters. Through our strong network and community engagement, The Basics Brooklyn plays a crucial role in amplifying the voices of residents and families.

Contact: Barbara Freeman; bfreeman6@schools.nyc.gov

The Basics Cumberland County

Success By 6, the early childhood initiative of United Way of Carlisle & Cumberland County, works to ensure that all children are ready for kindergarten. The Basics Cumberland County is a strategy utilized by Success by 6 in their work.

Contact: Karen M. Quinn, Ed.D.; karen@uwcarlisle.org

Learn more
The Basics Franklin County

First Start Partnerships for Children and Families, the Backbone organziation leading The Basics Franklin County, serves families with children 0-5 by providing high quality preschool programs throughout Franklin County, PA. First Start convenes the Hope from the Start Task Force with a primary focus on ensuring all children in Franklin County are ready for kindergarten by surrounding our community’s families with support and education.

The Basics Chattahoochee Valley

The Basics Chattahoochee Valley is an initiative of the Birth to PreK Committee of Columbus 2025’s Talented, Educated People. Our community plan is a concerted effort to reduce poverty, improve quality of life and increase prosperity. To achieve these great goals, we have to start with our babies. Waiting should not be an option. We must give every child a great start in life and the basic tools to thrive when they get to school and beyond.

Learn more
The Basics Cincinnati

We are launching The Basics Cincinnati with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center as the backbone organization. We will leverage several initiatives and organizations that are part of our All Children Thrive learning network that focus on promoting early childhood health and development.

Contact: TheBasicsCincinnati@cchmc.org

The Basics Cobb County

The Cobb Collaborative has led The Basics Cobb County in our community since 2021, bringing together a cross-sector coalition to support our youngest learners. We empower all child-facing adults through workshops, print and digital resources, convenings and data to make meaningful impact.

Contact: Irene M. Barton; thebasics@cobbcollaborative.org

Learn more
The Basics Colquitt County

The Basics Colquitt County is an ever-growing partnership to make Colquitt County a Basics Community. Our goal is to contextualize and provide a solid foundation for the literacy work our community is already doing. We believe that doing so will enhance the lives of our children and strengthen our community.

Contact: Erin Honeycutt; ehoneycutt@mccls.org

Learn more
The Basics Cook County

Cook County Family Connection, the Backbone of The Basics Cook County, is a community-based nonprofit with over eighty diverse partners working collectively to improve health equity. The Basics principles are included as part of their broader efforts to improve social determinants of health.

The Basics Dalton

The Basics Dalton Movement is sponsored by the Community Housing Resource Corporation. We partner with the Housing Authority of the City of Dalton, Dalton State College school of Education. We are eager to use the Basics as a catalyst to engage a broader segment of the community in the effort to support and empower families.

Contact: Alejandra Manzanares; Alejandram@haofdalton-ga.info

The Basics DeKalb County

The Basics DeKalb County is housed at the DeKalb County Regional Office of Education and is part of a comprehensive early learning initiative known as the DeKalb County Collaborative for Young Children. We use a community saturation approach to ensure parents, caregivers, and the community can play a role in positive outcomes for young children. Operating since 2018, The Basics DeKalb County aims to increase kindergarten readiness and positively impact lifelong success for all children in DeKalb County.

Contact: Courtney Hill; chill@dekalbcounty.org

Learn more
The Basics Dufferin
The Basics DuPage

The DuPage County Health Department (DCHD) serves as the Backbone organization for The Basics DuPage. DCHD plans to use the DuPage All Our Kids Early Childhood Collaborative (DAECC) as the vehicle to launch and guide The Basics DuPage initiative. DCHD is the backbone for DAECC so this structure will allow a county-wide campaign promoting The Basics DuPage.

The Basics Early County

The Basics Early County works with families at Head Start, PreK and local daycares, as well as with teen mothers.

Contact: Erin Lee; erinlee.faces@gmail.com

The Basics East Harlem
The Basics East Providence

East Providence School Department, the Backbone of The Basics East Providence and a First 10 Community, connects families to social, emotional, therapeutic, and other resources available to adults and children throughout our city.

Contact: Karen Rebello; krebello@epschoolsri.com

The Basics Southcoast

The Coalition for Health Equity and Early Development (HEED), the Backbone leading The Basics Southcoast, is dedicated to engaging and empowering all stakeholders as a collaborative community dedicated to developing every child’s human potential. HEED seeks to transform systems, policies, and practices to ensure equitable health, learning, and achievement for all by establishing early childhood development access for all children based on brain-based research beginning with The Basics.

Contact: Kelly Rebeiro-Oliveira; kelly@heedcoalition.org

Learn more
The Basics Forsyth County

Love Literacy, the Backbone of The Basics Forsyth County NC, is dedicated to ensuring that every child finds their best future through the benefits of literacy. We are building our community’s capacity to move the needle further and faster as we race to shift outcomes for students with the greatest need and close the opportunity gap. We understand the critical role of early childhood development in building the foundation for future learning and success.

Contact: earlychildhood@loveliteracy.org

The Basics Livingston County

The Genesee Valley Health Partnership, Inc. (GVHP), the Backbone organization of The Basics Livingston County, is nonprofit integrated rural health network comprised of approximately forty multi-sector organizations that are either based in or provide services in Livingston County, New York. Network members represent a variety of community sectors including healthcare, education, law enforcement, government agencies, veterans, and various community-based organizations (CBOs).

Contact: Lydia Boyd; lboyd@casa-trinity.org

Learn more
The Basics Gettysburg

United Way of Adams County is the Backbone organization leading The Basics Gettysburg. We are increasing literacy awareness for families in the Gettysburg community.

Cinco Básicos Brasil

Cinco Básicos is the official representative of The Basics Movement in Brazil. We partner with municipalities and social organizations to build capacity in frontline providers to help Brazilian families practice The Basics. We have reached 3000+ families through our partnership with the City of Guarujá and continue to work with partners to grow our impact in Brazil.

Contact: Maria Rodrigues; mmartinezrodrigues@gmail.com

Learn more
The Basics Guilford

Ready for School, Ready for Life, the Backbone for The Basics Guilford, is building a connected, innovative system of care for Guilford County’s youngest children and their families. We are pleased to bring The Basics Guilford to parents and caregivers in support of our population-level change goals. As one of two place-based system-building backbone organizations, we believe every child deserves a great start in life, but not every child starts from the same place.

Contact: Megan LeFaivre; meganl@getreadyguilford.org

Learn more
The Basics Hall County

United Way of Hall County, in partnership with INK Interactive Neighborhood, Wisdom Project 2030 and the Hall County Library System, are bringing The Basics to life for children and their parents in Hall County, Georgia. Through an interactive story time held 2-4 times per month, parents will have the opportunity to see The Basics in action and sign up for Basics Insights. Children who participate will receive a free, age-appropriate book, so they can continue their learning experience at home.

Contact: Teigha Snowden; tsnowden@unitedwayhallcounty.org

The Basics Haverhill
The Basics Waccamaw

United Way of Horry County and Black River United Way have partnered to serve three counties in the Waccamaw Region: Horry, Georgetown & Williamsburg Counties. By uniting forces and leading The Basics Waccamaw, both organizations can reach a more significant population of families to increase the number of children who enter kindergarten prepared.

Contact: Katie Wise; katie@unitedwayhorry.org

Learn more
The Basics Houston

The Basics Houston is an affiliate of the Basics Learning Network, a nationally recognized initiative, a collective movement to support early learning and development, offering free resources that give all Houstonians a great start to life.

Contact: Robyn Kebede; robyn.kebede@houstonhealthfoundation.org

Learn more
The Basics Howard County

Howard County’s Early Childhood Advisory Council works in harmony with families and agencies to support the youngest children in our county. We use The Basics Howard County to support children to ensure that they are school and life ready.

Contact: Howard County Office of Children and Families; children@howardcountymd.gov

Learn more
The Basics Kent County

The Great Start Collaborative of Kent County’s Nurturing Parent Power Workgroup consists of parent leaders, systems influencers, and decision makers coming together with a common goal: to find a way to communicate to parents of young children the most important, actionable information about how to help little ones get a strong start in life. The group answered the clarion call with a forward-thinking action agenda for ecological saturation of The Basics Kent County and cultivating the power of parents.

Contact: Paula Brown; pbrown@successstartsearly.org


Learn more
The Klamath Basics

Klamath County is a rural community in Oregon that uses The Basics Principles in the Play2Learn program. These events are hosted by the Klamath County School District for families with children 3-5 years of age. Families can attend an event at one of our school sites to learn about The Klamath Basics, participate in activities, and receive a Play 2 Learn bag of educational books and toys. Play 2 Learn event dates and times can be found below more locations will be added as they are finalized. 

Learn more
The Basics Lancaster County

Community Action Partnership Lancaster, the Backbone of The Basics Lancaster County, serves as a community resource for the county with access to supporting services in many areas. Thrive to Five, a high-quality early learning program with home-based and classroom-based options, is able to implement The Basics Strategy in a variety of First 10 family engagement activities and programming.

Contact: Meg May; mmay@caplanc.org

Learn more
The Basics Lanier County

Lanier County is a small, charming town in South Georgia. Our community believes in education and we are earnestly looking for new science based ways to instill the love and importance of learning into our very youngest neighbors. We are excited to share and incorporate The Basics Principles with as many as we can.

Contact: Susie Abbott; sabbott@lanierfamilyconnection.com

The Basics Lebanon Valley

We are proud to be the first community in Pennsylvania to adopt The Basics. The Basics Lebanon Valley grew out of the Connected Together Initiative under the Community Health Council. The initiative’s vision is “kindness is a way of life.” We use The Basics as a tool to build attachment and bonding between caregivers and children, thereby promoting social-emotional skills and resilience in children.

Learn more
The Basics Greater Lowell

The Basics movement in Lowell, MA is led by the Lowell Early Childhood Council, through which Lowell Public Schools, area non-profits, colleges and other leaders share information and resources to support the education and care of children up through age 5. Through LECC, The Basics supports families in our city which is diverse in every dimension (race/ethnicity, income/wealth, language, education,…) and which has welcomed waves of immigrants from across the world for 200 years.

Contact: Belinda Juran; belinda@bjuran.com

The Basics Lynchburg
The Basics Central Georgia

The Basics Central Georgia works in partnership with our Birth Through Eight Initiatives to bring the five, fun, and simple Basics Principles to our participants. We also work with the larger community to bring awareness to these principles so that eventually all sectors know about the basics and all children can thrive. In the coming months we will be working on our strategic plan and ways to implement The Basics into all 15 Central Georgia counties that the United Way of Central Georgia serves.

Contact: JoLee Henson Carlson; jhenson@unitedwaycg.com

Learn more
The Basics Marquette
The Basics Mecklenburg

The Basics Mecklenburg is a countywide coalition of organizations and individuals, working together to provide parents and caregivers with the information and support needed to make sure that every child gets a great start in life. Smart Start of Mecklenburg County, located in Charlotte, NC, serves as the Backbone organization, providing foundational support for this community-wide early brain development education campaign.

Contact: Stacy Baker; MeckBasics@SmartStartofMeck.org

Learn more
The Basics Meriwether County

Meriwether Family Connection in partnership with Meriwether School System is including The Basics strategy in all of our programs and services. It aligns perfectly with the work we do in early literacy, Get Georgia/Meriwether Reading, Low Birth Weight Prevention and Maternal Health and our Parents as Teachers Program.

Contact: Angie Shirah; meriwetherfamilyconnection@gmail.com

Learn more
The Basics Middletown

The Backbone organization leading The Basics Middletown movement is Middletown Parents of Preschoolers. They host story times and activities for preschool families.

Contact: Beverly Lawrence; popreschoolers@gmail.com

Learn more
The Basics Southwest Alabama

United Way of Southwest Alabama funded The Basics Southwest Alabama initiative to help parents, caregivers, and children during the first 3 years of life when 80% of brain growth occurs. The Basics Southwest Alabama works with many community organizations, hospitals, and early childhood programs with The Basics Principles. Coastal Conversations, a platform for increased civic awareness and engagement, launched The Basics Southwest Alabama campaign. They aim to make our community the best play.

Contact: Dr. Deborah A. Curry; dcurry@uwswa.org

Learn more
The Basics Montgomery County

The Basics Montgomery County serves parents and caregivers in a targeted zip code of Montgomery County, MD. The goal of The Basics Montgomery County is to ensure that all children have equitable access to supports that promote high quality cognitive and social-emotional development.

Learn more
The Basics Southcoast

The Coalition for Health Equity and Early Development (HEED), the Backbone leading The Basics Southcoast, is dedicated to engaging and empowering all stakeholders as a collaborative community dedicated to developing every child’s human potential. HEED seeks to transform systems, policies, and practices to ensure equitable health, learning, and achievement for all by establishing early childhood development access for all children based on brain-based research beginning with The Basics.

Contact: Kelly Rebeiro-Oliveira; kelly@heedcoalition.org

Learn more
The Basics Hampton Roads

Minus 9 to 5, a collective impact initiative that resides in the Division of Pediatrics, Community Health & Research at Eastern Virginia Medical School, is the Backbone for The Basics Hampton Roads. Minus 9 to 5 is dedicated to ensuring all families in the region are equipped with support to raise children who are healthy, thriving, and ready to learn. Funding to support the launch of The Basics HR was made possible through The Cooke Fund at The Hampton Roads Community Foundation.

Contact: Beth Parker, MS.Ed.; parkerek@evms.edu

Learn more
The Basics Northeastern

As a K-12 public school district, Northeastern York School District has incorporated First 10 and The Basics into our kindergarten readiness and transition into kindergarten comprehensive programming. First 10 and The Basics Northeastern are available to all residents of our south central Pennsylvania school district.

Contact: Randi Payne; payner@nebobcats.org

The Basics Norwalk

Norwalk ACTS, the Backbone of The Basics Norwalk, is a collective impact partnership that brings people together, in a structured way, to achieve social change. The Early Childhood Development Initiative improves coordination of services by implementing a community-wide system for screening, tracking, and promoting young children’s development. The Basics Norwalk allows us to promote and increase awareness on the importance of early childhood development within the community.

Contact: MJ Chironna; mjchironna@norwalkacts.org

The Basics Ossining
The Basics Paterson
The Basics Pensacola

The Basics Pensacola was born of a desire to come alongside families and offer practical, everyday ways to foster school readiness. The Basics community is a diverse network of organizations and individuals committed to a single goal: Improving young children’s lives by ensuring that all families have access to strategies for making the most of the time they spend with children from birth to 3 years old.

Learn more
The Basics Palmetto

In 2017, a coalition of local First Steps partnerships in South Carolina brought The Basics to “The Palmetto State.” We work with a variety of local partners to spread The Basics principles. Though The Basics backbone organizations are based in the Upstate of SC, we are actively helping other First Steps partnerships throughout the state adopt The Basics for their communities as well. The Basics Palmetto website, social media, and resources are managed by Pickens County First Steps.

Contact: Marian Vischer; marian@pickenscountyfirststeps.org

Learn more
The Basics Quitman County

Quitman County Family Connection, the Backbone of The Basics Quitman County, works to empower and improve the lives of children and families through education and resources.

Contact: Sara Lee Crumbs; quitmanfc@yahoo.com

Learn more
The Basics Randolph

The Basics Randolph was inspired by the fact that 80% of brain growth happens in the first three years of life. It is a collaborative effort between organizations in Randolph County to ensure that every parent and caregiver is fully supported by family and friends to use the Basics practices in everyday life. The Basics are five evidence-based parenting and caregiving principles that encompass much of what experts find important for infants through preschoolers.

Contact: Kim Radcliffe; kradcliffe@randolphkids.org

Learn more
The Basics Virginia

Thrive Birth to Five, the Backbone in the Richmond region, is the early childhood care & education organizer for Charles City, Chesterfield, Colonial Heights, Dinwiddie, Emporia, Goochland, Greensville, Hanover, Henrico, Hopewell, New Kent, Petersburg, Prince George, Powhatan, Richmond, Surry, and Sussex. We are focused on strengthening quality of early childhood care and ensuring families and children have the skills and resources they need so that race, place, and income will no longer determine success in school.

Contact: Pam Booker; pbooker@ThriveB5.org

The Basics Richmond County

CSRA RESA is a state professional learning agency serving as the Backbone for The Basics Richmond County. Our mission is providing messaging to parents, caregivers, and local organizations utilizing collective impact to saturate the Richmond County, Augusta, GA community with the five principles that can be incorporated into everyday interactions between parents/caregivers and children Birth to 5 in simple ways that will provide children with vibrant learning and healthy brain development.

Learn more
The Basics Rockford

Parents and primary caregivers are the first teachers in a child’s life. Research shows that a child’s future academic and lifelong success is greatly impacted by the experiences he or she has in the first few years of life. THAT’S WHY WE LEAD THE READY TO LEARN INITIATIVE IN ROCKFORD, a collaboration of organizations and businesses committed to supporting and uplifting the experience of raising young children in Rockford. The Basics Rockford is one component of the Ready to Learn Initiative.

Contact: Emily Klonicki; eklonicki@alignmentrockford.com

Learn more
The Basics Sanford/Springvale

The Basics Sanford/Springvale is part of our First 10 partnerships between our elementary schools, early childhood programs, and community agencies to improve the quality and coordination of education and care for young children and their families. The First 10 initiative works to improve teaching and learning, deepens partnerships with families, and provides comprehensive services for children and families.

The Basics Stillwater

Early Childhood Coalition, The Basics Stillwater Backbone, aims to improve the lives of Stillwater’s families by ensuring that all parents and caregivers can learn simple ways to make the most of the time they spend with children.

Contact: Laura Shellhammer; eccstillwater@gmail.com

Learn more
The Basics Sturgeon Bay
The Basics Tasmania

The Basics Tasmania has joined with a state wide established child care provider in 2023. This provider also has training and inclusion support for under school age children in Tasmania. The Basics Tasmania has a website and social media and has engaged in community initiatives since 2019.

Contacts: Kate Slater and Maree Thompson; kate.slater2109@gmail.com

Learn more
The Basics Troup County

The Troup Family Connection Authority, Backbone of The Basics Troup County, believes in the power of local decision-making to better support children in Troup County achieving reading proficiency by the end of third grade. Get Troup Reading is the local initiative it supports to work with community organizations, non-profits, the school system and faith-based organizations to work together to achieve this goal.

Contact: Kim Myers; kimmyers@gettroupreading.org

Learn more
The Basics Vermont

The Basics Vermont was initiated by the Southeast Vermont Building Bright Futures (BBF) Regional Council in 2019. BBF is Vermont’s Early Childhood State Advisory Council. Our core regional team includes the hospital, Children’s Integrated Services, the Parent Child Center Network, the Early Childhood Educators Network, the Agency of Human Services, and the school district. We are creating a common language throughout the early childhood system using The Basics to support all of Vermont’s youngest citizens for a healthy and resilient life.

Contact: Courtney Hillhouse; chillhouse@buildingbrightfutures.org

Learn more
The Basics Westbury
The Basics Woonsocket

The Basics Woonsocket is working to provide our community with information and resources to support the growth and wellness of our youngest children. We strive to provide our families with information and events surrounding the Basics to help children to build a foundation for future school success and social growth. Six week Play and Learn series as well as Passport to Kindergarten events in our elementary schools have supported this outreach.

The Yonkers Basics



Learn more
The Basics York Region

York Region Public Health supports healthy brain development in infants and young children while reducing Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). We are pleased to bring The Basics to our residents and partners, empowering them to foster robust, responsive relationships, cultivate resilience, and create positive childhood experiences. We aim to disseminate The Basics York Region throughout our community to help children and families thrive today and tomorrow.

Contact: HGD@york.ca

Learn more

The Basics Tools for Frontline Organizations


Our Community Toolkit provides a rich constellation of implementation guides, videos, and written resources for organizations and staff members who inform and support parents and caregivers around use of The Basics Principles.

View the toolkit

Basics Insights™

Basics Insights helps families put The Basics Principles into action. Each week, Basics Insights sends parents and caregivers two or more messages with science-based facts and activities to do with their children. The messages can stand alone or reinforce conversations with community-based service providers. The program is currently available in English, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, and Arabic.

Learn more

Building the Evidence Base

Our approach is grounded in the latest research in early childhood learning, brain development, behavioral science, and community change. Our ongoing research agenda engages The Basics Learning Network (BLN) communities in documentation and evaluation for continuous learning and improvement. We aim to assess implementation progress against goals; track key outcomes with respect to community saturation, partner organizations, parents and caregivers, and children; uncover areas for improvement and innovation; and identify lessons and principles that can be shared within the multi-city BLN and the field at large.


The Science Behind The Basics Principles

Who We Are

The Basics, Inc. grew out of the Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard University in partnership with the Black Philanthropy Fund in Boston. Our mission is to bolster brain development for social, emotional, and cognitive skill building among children from birth to age 3 as a sturdy foundation for school readiness across whole communities. We operate under the auspices of Third Sector New England (TSNE).


View Our FY23 Annual Report

Ron Ferguson, PhD

Founder and President

Ron provides active thought leadership for the Basics Learning Network. He is an MIT-trained economist who has taught at Harvard Kennedy School since 1983, including 15 years as faculty director of the Achievement Gap Initiative. His research, writing, and consulting focus on issues of education and economic development.

Jim Quane, PhD

Director of Operations

Jim provides oversight for all aspects of the organization’s operations. He served as Associate Director of the Urban Poverty Research Program at Harvard University for 25 years. Prior to that he was the Associate Director of the Center for the Study of Urban Inequality at the University of Chicago.

Zoë Hansen-DiBello, PhD

Sr. Liaison to the Basics Learning Network

Zoë leads the development and expansion of the Basics Learning Network.  She is an experienced systems thinker and mobilizer of cross-sector partnerships and has a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy.

Jocelyn Friedlander, EdM

Director of Learning and Innovation

Jocelyn leads the development of Basics tools and resources, and helps steer the organization’s learning agenda. She has conducted research on domestic and international early childhood policy and systems and has an Ed.M. in Prevention Science and Practice.

Keyla Kelley, MS

The Basics Boston Program Director

Keyla holds an MS in Child Life and Family-Centered Studies, BS in Counseling Psychology, and certifications in Child Life and Lactation Counseling. She has many years of experience working on issues pertaining to child well-being, family mental health, program development, and community engagement.

Nimrah Bakhsh

The Basics Boston Program Manager

A licensed ESL teacher with several years of experience in the public and private sectors, Nimrah helps facilitate the delivery and support of The Basics services to partner organizations in and around Boston.

Olivia Smith

Program Manager

Olivia manages the Basics Insights text messaging program and plays a key role in other product development and evaluation projects. She has previous experience in public health programming and research. She has a B.A. in Child Studies & Human Development and Community Health.

Katherine Vogt, MPH

Program Manager

Katherine manages the Basics Insights text messaging program and plays a key role in other product development and evaluation projects. She has previous experience in public health programming and development. She has an MPH in Health Policy and Management and a B.A. in Child Studies and Human Development.

Turahn Dorsey

Board Member

Turahn is a researcher, policymaker and strategist focused on systems change and civic innovation. He is a Foundation Fellow with the Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation working on transforming early childhood systems and Boston’s former Chief of Education.

Jeff Howard

Board Member, Clerk

Jeff is the founding chair of the Black Philanthropy Fund and the founder and president of the Efficacy Institute, Inc. He has over 30 years of experience as a consultant to school and community leaders as well as to corporate executives and senior managers of Fortune 500 companies.

Wendell Knox

Board Member, Treasurer

Wendell is the co-chair of the Black Philanthropy Fund. Prior to his retirement in 2009, he served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Abt Associates Inc. for 17 years and generated annual revenues of over $300 million from global operations in four lines of business.

Tom Manning

Board Member

Tom is a member of the Advanced Leadership Initiative at Harvard University. He was chairman and CEO of Dun & Bradstreet and served as CEO of Cerberus Asia Operations & Advisory, Capgemini Asia Pacific, and Ernst & Young Asia Pacific.

Katherine S. McHugh

Board Member

Kathy is a retired Boston philanthropic leader, most recently executive director of the Cabot Family Charitable Trust. Previously she was a trial lawyer and served for 32 years as a trustee of Northeastern University. She is also a founding director of EdVestors and a board member of Phoenix Charter Academy Network.

Mehrdad Noorani

Board Member

Mehrdad is a member of the Advanced Leadership Initiative at Harvard University and was a Founding Partner of Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), a leading infrastructure private equity investment firm. He also served as Managing Director and Head of Airport Finance at General Electric Commercial Aviation Services.

Jeri Robinson

Board Member

Jeri is retired as vice president of Early Childhood Initiatives at Boston Children’s Museum, where she remains an advisor. She has over 45 years of experience in early childhood education and is a member of the Boston Public School Committee.

Michael Yogman, MD

Board Member

Michael is a pediatrician with Cambridge Pediatrics at Cambridge Hospital. The editor of several books and author of numerous articles on topics in infant development, he is the chair of the Child Mental Health Task Force of the Massachusetts chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Meet Our Team
Navigation Arrow Navigation Arrow