Secretary Arne Duncan’s back-to-school kickoff today began with a lesson from preschoolers about kitchen tools, old and new, and how they might be used. Children from the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center (SEEC), located inside the National Museum of American History, showed the Secretary what they’ve learned about these tools that might have been used in pioneering cook Julia Child’s kitchen—the backdrop for the demonstration. The kitchen was donated to the museum in 2001. While at the museum, the Secretary, along with newly appointed Senior Advisor on Early Learning Jacqueline Jones, delighted 3- and 4-years-olds by reading the books, If You Give a Pig a Pancake and Planting a Rainbow.
Today’s visit to SEEC reinforces the Secretary’s commitment to high-quality early childhood programs in shaping the future academic success of children. The visit was the first of many as the Secretary plans to visit with students and stress to them the importance of doing their best in school, making every day count, aiming for higher standards of achievement and contributing to President Obama’s goal of ensuring America has the highest proportion of students graduating from college in the world by 2020.