When you decide you want to volunteer with kids, we know there are lots of options in and around Charlottesville.  Why choose Play Partners over something else?  Play Partners teachings preschool-age kids literacy skills, active listening and focus through play and story-telling together.  We’re a little biased, but we think it’s the best volunteer gig in town.  Here’s ten reasons why volunteering with Play Partners is an experience you’ll love.

10.  Two is better than one

At Play Partners, you’ll never be left on your own to figure things out.  You will always be paired with a more experienced volunteer to guide you through the day.  “This is my first year.  I feel like I had a huge learning curve, but I feel better at the end than I did at the beginning, thanks to my [volunteer partner],” said one Play Partners volunteer.

9.  Following the children’s lead

While the Play Partners staff will always give you lots of ideas for leading a session, there is also room to bring your own ideas and follow the children’s interests.  “It’s fun to hear children use words like ‘dozing,’ which is certainly learned from a book we had read,” said a Play Partner volunteer.

8.  On the school schedule

You’ll always have summer and holidays off, which is perfect for a parent with kids in school or college.

7. Substitutes available

If you go on vacation, have surgery, or just don’t feel well, there are substitutes available to cover for you.

6. Manageable time commitment

A typical Play Partners session is an hour long, once a week.  Add in another thirty minutes to an hour for planning and preparation, and you’re donating about two hours a week of your time to preschoolers in Charlottesville.

Those small hours add up.  Last year, Play Partners’ 26 volunteers donated over 1,059 hours to ReadyKids.

5. Hilarious, adorable kids

You get to spend time with, and build relationships with, sweet, funny, creative 3 to 5-year-olds in family and professional day care centers who are at risk of falling behind their peers in school.  “It is obvious these 4-year-olds do not have the vocabulary and number skills of my 4-year-old granddaughter,” said one Play Partners volunteer. “Our sessions help to make up the inequality.” Last year, Play Partners served over 100 children at eight child care providers around Charlottesville.

4. Awesome volunteer management staff

Christy and Ali, the Play Partners volunteer management staff, are nurturing and caring.  They will answer any questions you have, support and guide you through each week.  “Everyone at ReadyKids is so appreciative and pamper us!” said one Play Partner volunteer. “The art supply closet was wonderfully stocked with essentials and new fun things to try.”

3. Free trainings

The Play Partners program provides structured, ongoing trainings including how to support reading development, building brains, teaching movement activities, and helping children through transitions.

2. Book love

You’re helping kids to learn to love books, and to build their own home library.  Each month, each kid in the classroom you work with will get to take home a copy of the book you taught them that month. Last year, the Play Partners program gave away 1,027 books.

1. Building a new generation

Play Partners builds literacy skills in kids.  “One of the things I love about Play Partners is that we are trying to make an impact on the kids while they are still young,” said Ali Davidson, Play Partners Assistant. “We are trying to catch these kids before the gap widens and they head down a path that is irreversible.” 86% of children who participate in the Play Partners program demonstrate post-test emergent literacy skills as evidenced by scoring at or above age level for vocabulary.  Literacy skills are tied to a longer, healthier life.  In addition, poor reading skills are linked to teen pregnancy, substance abuse, incarceration, and welfare dependence.  Helping to bridge the achievement gap to children arrive at school at the same level as their peers has a lifelong impact.

Tell me more about Play Partners! Sign me up! I want to volunteer!

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The ReadyKids Play Partners program partnered with the Virginia Festival of the Book for a kid-friendly story time at C-ville Coffee this past Saturday, March 24.  Over 75 parents and children attended this fun-filled story time introducing children to the book Mrs. Wishy Washy by Joy Cowley.

The morning included an interactive reading of the book, songs, finger plays, crafts, and an appearance by Mrs. Wishy Washy herself.  Each kid made their own Mrs. Wishy Washy puppet and farm animal puppet – from popsicle sticks and construction paper – to reenact the story at home.

“The best part for me was the faces, watching the kids’ faces,” said Ali Davison, Play Partners Assistant.  “Their enthusiasm was really endearing.”

Play Partners

Play Partners teachers preschool-age kids literacy skills, active listening and focus through play and story-telling together.  Throughout the school year, our Play Partners volunteers go into area child care centers and bring books and so much more to get kids excited about reading.

ReadyKids is always looking for Play Partners Volunteers!  If you’re interested in giving two hours a week to preschool age children in Charlottesville visit this site for more information.   We would love to hear from you!

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Wishy Washy Kid 2015Bring your toddlers and preschoolers to Cville Coffee at 10:00 am on Saturday, March 25th for stories, songs, and fun activities! As part of the Virginia Festival of the Book, our Play Partners team will be presenting We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, retold by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury. The event is free, so sit back and enjoy a cuppa and watch your kids have fun while learning!

Click here for more info on the Festival of the Book.

 

Refer Someone to Happy Families(1)

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PEERWe 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!

Already an expert at reading to little ones? Click here to get involved in our Play Partners program.

 

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