Ravenna  – United Way of Portage County kicked off an unprecedented public engagement campaign called Born Learning, designed to help parents, caregivers and communities provide young children with early learning opportunities.

On June 5, United Way Day of Caring volunteers from Eaton Corp and Smithers-Oasis dug holes, poured cement, posted signs and painted children’s games to erect the first Born Learning Trail in Portage County.  The trail is located at Chestnut Hills Park in Ravenna.

The Born Learning Trail is an outdoor activity path for parents and caregivers to walk through with their preschoolers to encourage them to talk, listen, read, think, imagine, and create. The Born Learning Trail includes ten interactive stations, each with a different activity such as encouraging parents and caregivers to follow their child’s lead, building the child’s confidence and curiosity; talking and singing to a child, teaching the child words and preparing him or her to read; and a hopscotch game because physical activity exercises the child’s body and using numbers helps the child learn to count.

Born Learning is a nation-wide public engagement campaign put together by United Way, the Ad Council, CIVITAS, and the Families and Work Institute that helps parents, grandparents, and caregivers explore ways to turn everyday moments into fun learning opportunities. Children are learning right from birth, and continue to learn through everyday moments and interactions. Their early years are the foundation for growth and development, and experiences they have each day with their parents and caregivers are very important.  The Born Learning Trail is a great tool that supports this campaign.

“As a community organization with an active education and recreation program, the chance to be involved in the Born Learning Trail was a perfect fit,” said Brian Duchon, President & CEO for United Way of Portage County.  “We’re taking part in the Born Learning campaign because we want to do all we can to help parents and caregivers prepare young children to succeed in school.  What if every child had five years of education before kindergarten? The reality is that children are learning constantly, right from birth. We know what happens in a child’s early years matters – for success in life and for school readiness.”

For more information on United Way’s Born Learning Trail please visit www.uwportage.org/born-learning.