According to a recent CVille Tomorrow article, this fall, despite the best efforts of area schools, 250 Charlottesville and Albemarle County 4-year-olds might not get to attend school, a problem which has prompted area leaders to think outside the box. In the search for answers, the article cited ReadyKids’ own ParentingMobile program and how this type of creative solution gives kids a chance.
Every week, the ParentingMobile takes early childhood programming into several Charlottesville neighborhoods, including Southwood, Friendship Court, Greenstone on Fifth, and Park’s Edge, bringing education and fun to families who don’t have access to school. Kids get to do stuff like arts and crafts, imaginative play and story time, all the while building vocabulary, benefiting from a school-like environment and making new friends.
While their children are busy learning, our team works closely with parents, offering support, an opportunity to connect with peers and information on local resources.
Today, this program plays an essential role in the lives of many kids in our community—kids who, every week, look forward to getting Ready to Learn… together.
We’d like to thank everyone who gave time, resources and lots of energy to this year’s Play Partners picnic. Our staff and volunteers helped make this an amazing day for our wonderful Play Partners kids.
A big shout out to the Village School students, who came in droves to help guide the picnic’s fabulous educational activities. Your energy and enthusiasm helped to make this day a great one!
About Play Partners
The Play Partners program is all about helping get kids Ready to Learn and Ready to Read. Every week throughout the school year, pairs of trained community volunteers go into childcare settings with a ‘story of the month’ and related activities. By reading to the children, using evidence-based methods such as dialogic reading, the volunteers expand literacy concepts and increase kids’ exposure to new vocabulary. At the end of every month, Play Partners provides each child with their own copy of the ‘story of the month’ to take home; these books are the beginning of a home-library for many families. Our goal is to provide the young children participating in Play Partners with quality early educational experiences that get them Ready to Learn.
Thank you to everyone who attended the 2015 Community Breakfast and to those who were there in spirit! We were excited to have the chance to spotlight Emily Schorpp, whose work with area teens earned her the 20th annual Child Advocate of the Year award, as well as Gary Albert, State Farm Agency, recognized as this year’s family-friendly employer.
We were also eager, on this 20th anniversary breakfast, to introduce a new feature—the highlighted ReadyKids story of the year, presented on this occasion by our own Teen Counselor, Lou Hanson, whose very personal account of one special teen underscored just how effective our programming can be.
Director of Virginia’s Department of Juvenile Justice, Andy Block, shared some riveting data (seriously) in his keynote address and Dan Schutte of CBS 19 News was kind enough to stand up and lead the program.
Thanks again to our wonderful community of supporters, partners, team members and staff. We couldn’t do it without you. To anyone who didn’t make it, there will always be next year!
While much of the world is reeling at the news that brain size is directly (and sadly) linked to family income, we here at ReadyKids aren’t that surprised. The connection between early childhood experiences and brain development is well-documented, confirming just how essential early care and learning can be. The study found that, from birth, children of low-income families have less brain surface area than those whose parents are well-off. “We’ve known for so long that poverty and lack of access to resources to enrich the developmental environment are related to poor school performance, poor test scores and fewer educational opportunities,” said Elizabeth Sowell of Children’s Hospital, Los Angeles, the study’s senior author, “But now we can really tie it to a physical thing in the brain. We realized that this is a big deal.”
It is a big deal but, thankfully, researchers confirm that there is hope—and that’s where we come in. In our own Home Visiting program, for example, we start working with moms during pregnancy and stick with them for those formative early years, mentoring them through some of life’s trickier moments and providing the materials and support that make all the difference. Other early intervention initiatives, such as Play Partners, STAR Kids and the Parenting Mobile give childcare providers and low-income families important life and learning tools that will serve them for the rest of their lives.
Ready to level the playing field?Every gift to ReadyKids helps shrink that gap and opens doors to bright futures for kids.
We bet you (or someone you know) spends a lot of time reading to little ones. But are you getting the most out of those shared moments? Do you ask your child questions? Prompt a response? Repeat your words? If you’ve answered yes to any of those questions, then you’re already halfway there!
Dialogic reading is an evidence-based system, currently being piloted by our Play Partners program, which brings kids deeper into the learning experience. According to the US Department of Education’s What Works Clearinghouse, dialogic reading interventions have positive effects on oral language. Through this method, children are prompted to contribute to their own learning process, to become the storyteller. It’s all about engaging and interacting–and it works! So, next time you read to your preschooler, why not try out the PEER sequence yourself?
1. Prompt your child to say something about the book, 2. Evaluate your child’s response, 3. Expand your child’s response by rephrasing and adding information to it, and
4. Repeat the prompt to make sure your child has learned from the expansion!