Early childhood education is critical. Fortunately, we have fantastic tools that help parents and caregivers reach our youngest learners. Guest blog by Catherine Nusbaum, FCPS Coordinator of Early Childhood Education
As an early childhood educator, I am a passionate believer in the importance of the early years of development for all children. But as a parent who raised three of my own children and a grandparent now spending time with my four young grandchildren (ages 6 months to 6 years!), I realize more than ever that so much development and growth happens before children ever enter our public schools. It is very clear that parents are children’s first and most important teachers. Many research studies confirm that when parents engage their children in everyday moments of showing affection, talking, and playing with their children – they are helping to build strong and healthy brains. Brain research shows that the experiences a child has during these early years will build the connections that will allow for development of lifelong skills such as problem solving, communication, self-control and relationship building.
I am also a passionate believer that as a community we need to support parents and caregivers in this vital role. We are fortunate here in Frederick County to have a very strong early childhood community with great collaboration. The Interagency Early Childhood Committee (IECC) has been a driving force in advocacy and action for early childhood for many years. The IECC strives to provide the resources to support parents and caregivers. This year, the IECC – through generous contributions from agencies – is implementing a countywide parent engagement campaign called Ready Rosie.
Ready Rosie is a simple, easy-to-use tool that models how to have meaningful interactions with children in everyday situations. The goal of Ready Rosie is to equip and inspire families with young children and prepare them for a lifetime of positive home and school connections. Ready Rosie uses the power of video modeling and mobile technology to send weekly activities that parents and caregivers can do with children ages infant to five. This video modeling is a unique aspect of Ready Rosie.
Parents or caregivers receive a text or email every week with a two-minute or less video showing real families, in real communities, doing simple activities with their children to build readiness. These videos are child centered, inviting the child to lead the learning while building the capacity of the family. Once registered, a family has access to the entire library of videos (over 600!) to view at any time. This is especially helpful if a caregiver is looking for something to do with a child while waiting at the laundromat, or the doctor's office, or shopping in the grocery store. Families can register to receive the videos in English or Spanish, and there are translations available in many other languages as well.
As a community we are promoting Ready Rosie through many of our agencies, doctors’ offices, public libraries and more. Any family who lives in Frederick County can be part of it.
If you have young children or grandchildren or know anyone who does, it’s so important that we come together, share information, and support one another. This is a great way to start.
Have you tried Ready Rosie? What are your experiences with it? Share on Twitter @FCPSMDSuper. And if you enjoyed this post, please feel free to share it on Facebook or Twitter.