Adventures with Grammy

Adventures with Grammy

Episode 89. Great by Eight Is a Bold Call to Action

September 23, 2022

Focusing on early childhood development is vital for children and for our society. Research has demonstrated facilitating low-stress/high-engagement environments at the earliest ages builds strong, confident learners, who as adults, make up the backbone of a successful society. America’s failure to make early childhood development one of our highest priorities is the reason our nation has shown a steady decline in numerous important areas relative to other countries. Today’s guest, Dr. Rick Allen, has written Great by Eight, a bold call-to-action that demands intense emphasis on the development of young children, in particular from birth to age three, and continuing through age eight. By investing in early childhood development now, and over the long-term, we can become a far stronger and more unified nation. Great by Eight provides experienced insights on how we can get there. Drawing on nearly thirty years in public administration, extensive work in early childhood program design, and an abundance of emerging research, Dr. Allen sheds light on the remarkable power of early childhood development. He illustrates how parents, caregivers, teachers, community-activists, corporate executives, community-based nonprofit leaders, and forward-thinking policymakers can work together to cut social costs, create a stronger workforce, boost local economic development efforts, and improve our faltering international competitiveness. He clearly demonstrates that most children, given the right environment and support very early in life, can evolve into successful, contributive, and happy adults.

In 2001, the University of Washington Tacoma School of Business in association with the Business Examiner News Group named Dr. Allen as a Business Leader of the Year in Pierce County, Washington. The Washington Association for the Education of Young Children recognized him as one of the state’s outstanding community-based advocates for children.

He was president and CEO of United Way of Pierce County, Washington, a community approaching one million, for more than twenty years. Before that he served eight years as director of the Pierce County Community Action Agency, working predominantly with families in distress. Dr. Allen holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Eastern Washington University, a master’s degree in interpersonal communication from Ohio University, and both a master’s and a doctorate in public administration from the University of Southern California.

Please join me in extending a hearty welcome to Dr. Rick Allen to the Adventures with Grammy Podcast.

Rick, I love your book. You have written a no-nonsense guide to ensuring children receive the love and nurturing they deserve. Reading Great by Eight should be a high priority for every adult.

Your academic and professional credentials are impeccable. What I didn’t mention is that you also have life experiences that the average person can relate to such as bailing hay on an Eastern Washington farm, working as a dishwasher and night janitor in a large restaurant, laying railroad track in central Oregon, working construction jobs in Pullman, Washington and Lewiston, Idaho, and serving in the U.S. Armed Forces during the Vietnam era.  What led to your focus on the importance of early childhood years?

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