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Closing the Achievement Gap: Early Experiences that Matter

Dukes,Andre_hsExperiences in the early months and years of life shape a child’s health, learning and development forever. In order to thrive, children don’t need anything fancy – just basic experiences of predictable love and care, parents who talk, sing and read to them, opportunities to explore in a safe, supportive environment. But for too many children, these basic experiences are lacking. Andre Dukes, Director of Family Academy for the Minneapolis Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ), knows the long-term consequences for these children. He is devoting his life to helping parents give their children a strong start, and he believes that a creative community partnership focused on early childhood will change the future for children and the Northside community in which they live.


What did Andre Dukes describe as the most important experiences for babies and toddlers in terms of their long-term learning and development? Why do you think so many young children do not get those basics? What can you do in your family or community to help ensure that more children have those solid foundations? Share your thoughts in the comment space below!


For the U of M’s Serve & Return video, click here.

For the U of M’s Pay Now or Pay Later video, click here.

For our interview with Dr. Art Rolnick, click here.

For information on the Hart and Risley study, click here.

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