Baby Brain Connection
Parenting for Early Childhood Literacy
Training Suggestions for Parents and Caretakers
All training of parents and caretakers involve providing consistent reminders about the importance of parents’ and caretakers' roles in developing early literacy from birth: Early Brain Development, andmodeling of several activities of Talking, Playing & Interacting, and Reading (taken from Parenting for Early Childhood Literacy: Parent Providers Guide for the 1st Year at the website: www.babybrainconnection.org)
Possible connections for training and sharing information with parents and caretakers:
*Interact 1:1 with parents and caretakers: conversations include reminders of the importance and connection of developing babies' brains and developing literacy during birth-12 months and modeling activities when possible.
* Special workshops for parents, who have babies in their households, conducted by Parent Providers. These could made available in early childhood daycare centers, preschools, and elementary schools. (See Training Suggestions below.)
* Programs for adults: ELL (English Language Learners) and ESL (English as a Second Language)
*Streaming of videos in hospitals to new moms.
*Streaming of videos in healthcare clinics waiting rooms where new parents are being served.
* Part of existing classes and workshops where Parenting is being discussed such as neonatal and prenatal classes or classes for pregnant teens.
* Reminders and modeling of 1-2 strategies by hospital and healthcare clinic support staff during baby visits to pediatrician
*Home visits to new parents where infants are present: use a small section of the visit to remind parents of importance of early literacy from birth and possibly use 1-2 video vignettes on smartphone or computer tablet plus modeling of 2-3 strategies.
*Coaching by midwives.
Training Suggestions for Parents and Caretakers Workshop/s
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 are suggested to Parent Providers.
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 parents and caretakers (page 1 of Parenting for Early Childhood Literacy: Parents 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, or principal or teacher at a local school. Again, this is not necessary. Ideally, you want someone who has the trust of participants and is able to encourage discussion.
The workshop should explore some of the Parents Guide for the 1st Year's basic ideas and activities of “Talking,” “Playing & Interacting,” and “Reading.” Encourage discussion, and provide 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. Give reminders about the workshop, perhaps an oral reminder, written notice, or 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.)