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A proven approach to giving Houston children a great start in life.

Our Difference

The evidence is in the numbers.

The Basics is a nationally-recognized initiative that empowers families to care for, and cultivate healthy beginnings for their children by providing resources for healthy childhood development.

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The Basics Houston invests in the early years of a child’s life. Through methods that are both practical and nationally recognized, The Basics Houston uses a fun approach to kindergarten readiness that's specific to Houston. Our work here contributes to the The Basics Learning Network (BLN) and the early childhood development field at large. Data we collect about our efforts here in Houston helps us uncover areas for improvement and implement new ideas to share with caregivers and children across Houston.

1+ million

new brain connections are built per second when caregivers talk, read, sing and play with a baby.


of brain growth occurs by age 5.


Children are 25% more likely to graduate from high school when they experience quality early learning.


of all energy a baby expends is concentrated in the brain.

25 in 25 by 2025 Initiative

Raising kindergarten readiness by 25% in 25 cities by 2025.

The 25 in 25 by 2025 Initiative helps to raise kindergarten readiness by 25 percent in at least one geographic area of at least 25 cities, towns, and counties by 2025. As a Basics Learning Network affiliate, The Basics Houston issues this challenge to our home community by offering leadership and mentorship.

meet our experts

The Basics grew out of the Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard University.

Ron Ferguson, Ph.D.

The Basics Founder and President

Ron provides active thought leadership for the Basics Learning Network. He is an MIT-trained economist who has taught at Harvard Kennedy School since 1983, including 15 years as faculty director of the Achievement Gap Initiative. His research, writing, and consulting focus on issues of education and economic development.

Quianta Moore, M.D., J.D.

Fellow in Child Health Policy, rice University

Dr. Moore conducts research on best strategies and policies to support children’s development and wellbeing. As a Fellow in Child Health Policy at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, Dr. Moore leads the institute’s child health program. She has a diverse research portfolio and experience, which creates opportunities to develop inter-disciplinary research agendas that advance stakeholder interests.

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Sign up for Basics Insights!

Basics Insights is a free text messaging platform for parents and caregivers of infants and toddlers that sends science-based tips and activities to boost your child's brain development.


Bringing The Basics to those most in need.

The Basics Houston Complete Communities (Basics2) project is designed to support families, in the Gulfton, Near Northside and Third Ward communities, by helping them build solid foundations and trajectories for kindergarten readiness and 3rd grade reading proficiency. Houston Health Department and Children's Museum Houston are collaborating on a neighborhood-based approach designed to build a stronger and more supportive network for families by providing a common message about the powerful role caregivers play in developing their child’s brain.  Parents and caregivers and community support systems are encouraged to practice with babies the five fun, simple, yet powerful “Basics”, which help build an early foundation for children to be able to read, speak, solve problems, do well in school and have positive relationships later in life.

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Raves and Reviews

“The science is clear: the first three years of life are critical for brain development."

— Dr. Quianta Moore