The AGI and The Black Philanthropy Fund (an organization of African Americans in Boston) formally launched The Basics movement in Boston in September of 2016 to help prepare children from all backgrounds and across whole neighborhoods to thrive, starting at birth.
The word spread quickly. By December, teams from 11 cities convened in Boston to learn about The Principles, the tools, and the approach. Rather than wait years for Boston to refine the approach, attendees agreed, “We'll figure it out together.” The Basics Learning Network (BLN) was thereby born. It operates under the leadership of The Basics, Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization under the fiscal sponsorship of Third Sector New England (TSNE).
Today, coalitions across dozens of BLN cities, towns, and counties in the US, Brazil, and Australia are engaging their communities, participating in BLN research, and regularly convening to learn, innovate, and share best practices.
The year 2015 was spent building relationships with city- and neighborhood-level decision makers and developing videos and other learning materials in collaboration with parent-serving organizations and WGBH Public Broadcasting (now GBH). AGI staff developed booklets, posters, handouts, and scripts for videos. Early allies included Mayor Walsh’s Office of Education, the Pediatrics Department at Boston Medical Center, Boston Children’s Museum, and WGBH Public Broadcasting (now GBH).
The Basics Principles, already developed in collaboration with a national advisory committee, were further vetted during 2015 by Boston parents and leading practitioners from the city’s early childhood sector. In the process, the principle “Maximize love, minimize stress,” was changed to “Maximize love, manage stress,” while the other principles remained intact.