“On a June morning in this rural eastern North Carolina community, about a dozen families grabbed the edges of a rainbow parachute, making plastic balls bounce in its ripples. Grandparents, parents and children switched between water games, parachute activities and swing-sets spread across a playground.
The fun and games are serious business to the group that runs them, the Down East Partnership for Children, a 25-year-old nonprofit that provides educational and health resources to families of young children in rural Nash and Edgecombe counties. The goal of these meetings is to highlight the importance of basic interactions between parents and their kids.
Playgroups are held at least twice a month for families with children from birth to 5 years old. The meetings are a way for families to meet other families, get connected with resources and prepare children for kindergarten. Families often need support in this part of the state, an area struggling to keep up with the economic growth of the high-tech Triangle region, the metropolitan home of the state capital, Raleigh, about an hour away.
‘The ultimate goal of Play and Learn groups is to strengthen [the] parent-child bond,” said Cornelia Singletary, Down East’s family services program manager. “For families who are hesitant about putting their child in a formal child care setting, this is kind of like a little preschool, but you get to be with your child.’”
For the full story, see https://go.edc.org/dwe4.
How do we think about a distinct role for paper, for “book-books” in children’s lives? My own pediatric cause is literacy promotion for young children. I am the national medical director of the program Reach Out and Read, which follows a model of talking with the parents of babies, toddlers and preschoolers about the importance of reading aloud, and giving away a developmentally appropriate children’s book at every checkup.
We are talking about very young children here, and we begin by giving out board books which are designed to be chewed and drooled on by babies who are still exploring the world orally, or thrown down (repeatedly) off the high chair by young children who are just figuring out object permanence and experimenting with ways to train their parents to fetch and retrieve. But the most essential attribute of those board books, beyond their durability, is that they pull in the parent, not only to pick them up, but to ask and answer questions, name the pictures, make the animal noises.
NY Times: https://go.edc.org/g302
Vroom now has a community playbook available for free. From a post on the Grade-Level Reading Campaign’s Huddle site:
Vroom turns shared moments into brain building moments. Whether it’s mealtime, bathtime, or anytime in between, there are always ways to nurture our children’s growing minds.
Vroom was developed by a group of dedicated scientists, community leaders, and trusted brands, with input from community organizations and families like yours. Together, we’re providing parents and caregivers with ways to boost early learning in fun and friendly ways.
Vroom was designed to be owned, adopted, and driven by others, and we’re working hard to make this a reality. At this stage in the development of Vroom, we have completed our pilot project in the Seattle area, and as a result we’ve published a Vroom Playbook as a “how to” for communities, organizations, and individuals interested in activating Vroom. Our Playbook, printable tips, and other materials are freely available for download from the “Tools and Activities” section of our website at joinvroom.org. For your convenience, here is a direct link to those materials, available in English and in Spanish.