Record-breaking vocabulary lesson highlights preschool

About 230 Indianapolis preschoolers helped set a world record Thursday by taking part in the largest ever vocabulary lesson.

It was part of an event to highlight early learning programs in 35 cities sponsored by PNC Bank.

“Being a part of something big is exciting for them,” said Ted Maple, CEO of Early Learning Indiana, a local preschool program that brought most of the kids to the Indianapolis Children’s Museum for the lesson. “And there aren’t many times the classes from our different centers get together.”

The bank’s Grow Up Great program, which has spent $350 million to support preschool, is completing its first decade this year. A spot in the Guinness Book of World Records is part of the celebration.

“We just feel it is so important for kids to get off to a good start in learning as opposed to having them trying to catch up later,” said Jeff Kucer, PNC’s client and community relations director in Indianapolis.

Each child received a copy of the book “Mr. Tiger Goes Wild,” from which the vocabulary words were drawn.

Learning vocabulary is among the most important skills for parents and preschool teachers to work on with kids to get them ready for school, Kucer said.

“It’s important for kids to learn as many words as they can before kindergarten,” he said. “It’s all part of the pre-K mentality, to get the brain growing and thinking as it’s developing in the first five years.

PNC’s Grow Up Great offers grants to support preschools, gives the bank’s employees credit for volunteer hours working with preschoolers and provides advocacy on behalf of public policies that support preschool.