Baby Brain Connection
Parenting for Early Childhood Literacy
Training Suggestions for Parent Providers
Who are Parent Providers and what is their role?
Parent Providers are professionals and/or paraprofessionals who support parents in caring for their babies. Their role is extremely important because they have contact with parents long before a child goes to preschool or kindergarten. School systems do not come into contact with many parents until much beyond the critical first year of a child’s life. Thus, it is the Parent Providers who can help parents provide rich stimulation for their babies during this early period.
Parent Providers can help parents by: 1) giving them the message that there is rapid brain development that occurs during their baby’s 1st year of life and they can help this growth and 2) encouraging parents by sharing the videos and activities for “Talking,” Playing and Interacting,” and “Reading” found in Baby Brain Connection:Parent Providers Guide for the 1st Year.
First, Parent Providers need to become familiar with the content in Baby Brain Connection:Parent Providers Guide for the 1st Year. Later, they will use the same materials, videos, and activities with parents they serve. Parent Providers may freely use all or relevant sections of the guide.
Parent Providers can include:
* pediatricians and support staff in healthcare clinics
* pediatricians and support staff in hospitals
* home visitors
* facilitators of pre-natal and neo-natal parenting workshops
* teachers and caretakers in early childhood preschools
* teachers and caretakers in early childhood daycare centers
* administrators and teachers in elementary schools (where parents might also have young children)
* facilitators of teen pregnancy programs
Possibilities for sharing information:
All of the following examples can be adapted and modified to meet the diverse needs of organizations, large or small, as well as those individuals in private practice.
1. Provide "Train the Trainer" workshop for Parent Providers. It is not necessary to have a formal child development specialist to serve as leader - just someone who can make the group feel comfortable and lead a discussion. The suggested workshop makes use of the same materials and activities that will be offered to parents in their guide and meetings and/or workshops conducted by the Parent Provider. By using the same workshop format and materials, Parent Providers will easily become familiar with the content so they can train other providers as well as the parents with whom they interact. (See workshop suggestions below.)
2. Encourage others in an organization to incorporate some of these approaches as they work with parents.
3. Incorporate videos and strategies in a CEU (continuing education units) training program that already exists.
4. Adapt Baby Brain Connection ideas with its focus on birth-12 months to an existing training program for early childhood literacy.
Training Suggestions for a “Train the Trainer” Workshop/s
Introductory 1 Hour Workshop We suggest that you introduce concepts, show short videos, and discuss some talking points.
Welcome and introduction: why we are here (website introduction), messages to parent providers and parents (page 1 of Parenting for Early Childhood Literacy: Parent Providers Guide for the 1st Year)
Essential points:The 1st year of life is really important. This is when early brain development is rapid. We value each parent, who is really the baby’s first teacher, and we know how each parent wants the very best for his/her child. We know that providing many ways of talking, playing and interacting, and reading helps to shape brain circuits and lay the foundation for later developmental outcomes, from academic performance to mental health and interpersonal skills. These skills will better prepare children for successful learning in preschool and kindergarten.
Show 1-2 videos on brain development (each is approx. 2 minutes)
Focus on “Talking: It may be particularly helpful (and entertaining) to present the idea of “Parentese” by watching the video (“Talking” section, 1.5 minutes).
Then have a group discussion: If parents of babies are themselves part of the provider group, what are their opinions/reactions? Opinions of others? Are people surprised about the data showing the importance of the first year? How do we interact with parents and their babies when they come to see us? Do we talk to the baby or only to the parent? Are there ways we can model and coach? For example, can we model/coach parents by using a Parentese voice when we are helping a parent with baby care? Encourage sharing of ideas.
Activities for the participants can include role play, coaching, and modeling. For example, you might suggest that participants try out modeling some Parentese during the course of a parent appointment.
If there is time, repeat the sequence for “Playing & Interacting” and “Reading:” videos, talking points, and activities.
Provide 1 page information Parents and Caretakers Handout (printed 2 sides) that gives examples of activities and website information. (click below)
1 follow-up training session after a few months
There are many ways to follow up. You may have access to a trainer; i.e. clinic outreach coordinator at a local health clinic, education director at an early childcare center, training consultant at a regional conference). Again, this is not necessary. Ideally, you want someone who has the trust of participants, knows the needs of your work situation, and is able to encourage discussion.
The workshop should explore some of the Parent Providers Guide for the 1st Year's basic ideas and activities of “Talking,” “Playing & Interacting,” and “Reading.” Encourage discussion about how to incorporate some of these ideas into the services they regularly provide to parents. Have opportunities for participants that include role play, coaching, and modeling.
What will you need for the workshop/s:
1. Be familiar with Baby Brain Connection: Parent Providers Guide for the 1st Year. (found on this website)
2. Find a room with computer access and a large screen for video and internet access.
3. Choose a convenient date, and provide plenty of notice. Send an email reminder a week or so before the workshop.
4. Get a computer to show some videos.
5. Choose videos you want to show beforehand. (1 or 2 videos on Early Brain Development and 1-2 videos from Talking, Playing & Interacting, and Reading sections on website.
6. Print Handout for Parents and Caretakers: 1-2 pages (or printed 2 sides) ahead of time to distribute to participants. (click below)
7. Before the workshop begins, TEST COMPUTER AND PROJECTION TO ENSURE GOOD WORKING ORDER.
8. You may wish to provide light refreshments.(...always a good idea for a workshop. This also encourages interaction.)