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Born Learning Trail installed at Pangborn Park

September 17, 2009

Personnel from United Way of Washington County and partners PNC Bank and the City of Hagerstown on Thursday installed a Born Learning Trail at Pangborn Park.

The Born Learning Trail is an interactive park course designed to promote early learning and school readiness.

An opening celebration for the trail will be Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be at 11 a.m. The event will include free refreshments, giveaways, entertainment and parent resources.

"The trail will not only be a fun activity for families with young children at the park," Kelly Redmond, Born Learning coordinator with United Way, said in a prepared statement. "Its 10 interactive signs will have young children learning letters of the alphabet, numbers, colors and shapes. Parents can teach their child skills needed for school while playing hopscotch and having fun with their child."

The Born Learning Trail is one aspect of the Born Learning efforts in Washington County. Born Learning is a national United Way community engagement campaign designed to help parents, caregivers and communities provide young children with quality early-learning experiences. The campaign is designed specifically to help young children prepare for school.

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Through public service announcements, billboards, Born Learning Web site, school readiness events and educational materials being distributed locally, it offers "doable" action steps that make it easy and fun to help young children learn during everyday activities such as sorting laundry, grocery shopping or visiting a park, according to the statement.

According to the 2008-09 Maryland Model for School Readiness (MMSR) results, only 72 percent of children entering Washington County public schools are "fully ready" to learn, the statement says. Approximately one of three students start kindergarten already behind in Washington County.

"Although school readiness statistics have improved in Washington County, we want to continue to see improvements each year," Jenny Fleming, Community Impact Director for United Way, said in the statement. "We know what happens in a child's early years really matters and will impact their readiness for school and ultimately their success in life."

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