U.S. Secretary of Health & Human Services Tommy Thompson Applauds New IBM Early-Learning Program

Thousands of Preschoolers At Low-income Day Care Centers Now a Part of IBM's KidSmart

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NEW YORK - 19 Dec 2001: Fresh on the heels of a new national education budget that will provide fresh dollars for the Federal Head Start budget, Tommy Thompson, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, visited one of New York City's oldest settlement houses where three- and four-year-olds are learning with leading-edge technology.

Thompson visited a Head Start class at the Hudson Guild on West 26th St., one of 138 New York City preschools and day care centers which have received new early-learning technology from IBM. All told, IBM has donated more than 340 of the colorful Young Explorer computers to nonprofit centers in New York City, and more than 600 statewide.

"What better way to help children get a head start on learning with technology than with this IBM program,'' said Sec. Thompson, who sat with two preschoolers as they demonstrated their emerging technology skills. Thompson spoke about President Bush's goal to increase the literacy rate of the American people, and described the significant role that preschools play in preparing young children for success in school and thus, success in life.

In addition, Secretary Thompson noted that he hopes that preschool technology, such as IBM's KidSmart Early Learning program, will ultimately become part of all Head Start classes.

As the call for universal access to high-quality preschool programs continue, IBM, in collaboration with United Ways across the U.S., has delivered more than 6,000 KidSmart Early Learning Centers to day cares and preschools, transforming traditional child care settings into high-quality learning centers.

The company plans to donate another 15,000 Young Explorer computers worldwide in the next three years, providing children with a jump start on their education and helping them bypass the consequences of the digital divide, which continues to separate children from low-income families from those with greater opportunities.

"IBM's commitment to education goes to the very heart of who we are as a company,'' said Stanley S. Litow, IBM's vice president of Corporate Community Relations and president of IBM's International Foundation. "We've created award-winning programs with documented success in raising student achievement in elementary and high schools. With our KidSmart program, IBM is extending its education initiatives into the preschool setting, where we're providing children and their teachers with the tools they need to support early learning.''

In addition to over 600 computers donated to NY day care centers, IBM has made major donations to nonprofit child care centers to the following states:

California: 444 Young Explorer computers Colorado: 117 Young Explorer computers Florida: 193 Young Explorer computers Georgia: 210 Young Explorer computers Illinois: 166 Young Explorer computers Minnesota: 140 Young Explorer computers North Carolina: 333 Young Explorer computers New Jersey: 259 Young Explorer computers Texas: 308 Young Explorer computers.

IBM's KidSmart Early Learning Program includes computers, educational software by Riverdeep -- The Learning Company, and teacher training.

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Please click here for a photo of U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson learning about the KidSmart Young Explorer early learning technology.

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