The Basics

United Way of Carlisle and Cumberland County

Children Thrive with The Basics 5!

Success By 6 The Basics:

The United Way of Carlisle & Cumberland County and its early childhood initiative, Success By 6, work to ensure that every child is prepared and ready to succeed by the time they enter kindergarten. To that end, we are pleased to announce our newest initiative, The Basics Success By 6!

The Basics Success By 6 is a multi-year community initiative that engages partners from all sectors of the community to share The Basics message with parents/adult caregivers of young children, birth to age three. Parents and other adult caregivers learn about and receive information about The Basics through purposeful interactions with trusted service providers. In turn, service providers praise and encourage parents and adult caregivers for engaging with their children around The Basics principles. To learn more about The Basics and this community saturation approach, click on the links below:

Basics Strategy in Action document

The Basics Overview video link

Belief Statements: 

The following belief statements will guide our work with our families and our community partners:

  • All children deserve to grow up happy, healthy and thriving. 
  • We honor and support parents as their child’s first teacher and their role in raising their children. 
  • Between birth and five years of age, there is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to invest in children when the brain experiences the most intensive growth and development. 
  • Children are best served when families and communities work together to invest in our children’s future. 
  • United Way of Carlisle & Cumberland County and its early childhood initiative, Success By 6, are uniquely situated to bring together community partners to share The Basics principles with families. 

What is it?

The Basics are five evidence-based parenting and caregiving principles that encompass much of what experts find is important for children’s healthy development, birth to age three. Every child from every background can benefit from routinely experiencing The Basics.

  • Maximize Love, Manage Stress

Babies and toddlers thrive when their world feels loving, safe, and predictable. Respond with smiles, words, and touch to help them see, hear, and feel your love. You will help them develop a sense of security and self-control. 

Maximize Love, Manage Stress Tip Sheet

Maximize Love, Manage Stress Video Link

  • Talk, Sing, and Point

Babies learn language from the moment they are born. Respond to their sounds, and later, their words. Connect with eye contact and a loving tone of voice, while pointing to help them know what you are talking about. 

Talk, Sing, and Point Tip Sheet

Talk, Sing, and Point Video Link

  • Count, Group, and Compare

Every child’s brain is wired for math. Talk about numbers, shapes, patterns, and comparisons as you go about your routines together. Watch your child learn to love math. 

Count, Group, and Compare Tip Sheet

Count, Group, and Compare Video Link

  • Explore Through Movement and Play

Babies are like scientists who love making discoveries. Watch to see what interests your child, then encourage their curiosity and help them learn when they play and explore. 

Explore Through Movement and Play Tip Sheet

Explore Through Movement and Play Video Link

  • Read and Discuss Stories

Reading turns kids into confident thinkers. Make books a regular part of your relationship from the very beginning. With infants, point at the pictures and speak with excitement. With toddlers, just make it fun. 

Read and Discuss Stories Tip Sheet

Read and Discuss Stories Video Link

Where does it come from?

The Basics grew out of the Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard University in partnership with the Black Philanthropy Fund in Boston. The Basics mission is to bolster brain development for social, emotional and cognitive skill building among children, birth to age three. The Basics pulls together more than 30 years of scientific research on brain development and condenses it into five, simple, easy-to-use ways adults can interact with children to ensure they grow up happy, healthy and thriving. The Basics provide a sturdy foundation for school readiness for all children.

Why does it matter?

Research shows that 80% percent of brain growth in children happens by the age of three and 90% by age four. Skill gaps in learning are already evident in some children by the age of two. Parents and other adult caregivers can play a significant role in their child’s early learning experiences. Children learn through relationships with loving adults. The way adults talk to children matters in quality, quantity and delivery. Our brain is like a muscle growing bigger and stronger the more adults interact with children. The Basics principles provide families with the tools needed to boost healthy brain development in their children. 

How can organizations join?

Any organization that serves parents and caregivers with children, birth to age three, can join our The Basics Success By 6 movement! There are three ways organizations can become involved:

  1. Share information with families and employees with young children; 
  2. Share information and integrate the principles into the organization’s existing program; and/or, 
  3. Institutionalize The Basics principles and messaging across all programs within your organization. 

For more information contact Karen Quinn, Director of Success By 6, by telephone at 717-243-4805 or by email at [email protected].

How can parents join?

  1. Parents are free to access The Basics Tip Sheets, video links and other materials directly on our United Way of Carlisle & Cumberland County website at
  2. Parents may also participate in Basics community events with their children. Check our website periodically at to learn about upcoming events. 
  3. Contact Karen Quinn, Director of Success By 6, by telephone at 717-243-4805 or by email at [email protected].

Partner Organizations:

The following partner organizations are sharing The Basics with the families and children they serve. Success By 6 is grateful to each organization for participating in this important initiative. 

       Capital Area Head Start, Carlisle

Capital Area Intermediate Unit

Carlisle Area Family Life Center

Cumberland County Early Intervention

Cumberland Care for Families

Sadler Health Center, Carlisle

South Middleton School District

Tapestry of Health (WIC Program)

Grant Funding:

The following organization has provided financial support to our The Basics Success By 6 initiative! We could not do this important work with out them.