“Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing” Campaign Launches in Santa Barbara County
Source: County of Santa Barbara
This year, 101 child care providers and family resource centers will participate, up from 45 in 2017. Collectively, the campaign is expected to provide resources to 4,000 families in the county. The campaign encourages parents and caregivers to talk, read and sing more with their young children starting at birth. Almost 60 percent of American children start kindergarten unprepared, lagging behind their peers in critical language, math, and social-emotional skills. Research shows that simple, everyday interactions with young children, like describing objects seen during a walk or bus ride, singing songs, or telling stories can build their vocabulary, prepare them for school, and lay a strong foundation for lifelong learning.
Each day for eight weeks, tips and simple activities are posted on Facebook to help parents engage with the weekly themes.“Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing,” is a community-wide effort with First 5 California and promotion from Too Small to Fail, a national, joint initiative of The Opportunity Institute and the Clinton Foundation. The second annual First 5 Santa Barbara County campaign runs October 8 through November 30 with support from partners including community leaders, family resource centers, and child care providers involved in the Quality Rating and Improvement Systems.
The campaign partners with trusted messengers to share information with parents and caregivers about the critical role they play in their children’s early brain development. These community partners will distribute Talking is Teaching materials directly to families.
First 5 Santa Barbara County launched the campaign on October 6 with two book fairs hosted in partnership with the Santa Barbara County Education Office (SBCEO), the Santa Barbara Child Care Planning Council, and Children’s Resource and Referral of Santa Barbara County.
“The Santa Barbara County Education Office is pleased to be able to partner with First 5 Santa Barbara County on the 2018 Talk, Read & Sing Campaign,” said Joyce Stone, Coordinator of the Santa Barbara Child Care Planning Council at SBCEO. “Through one of our grants we were able to purchase books for state preschool programs that were distributed at the Book Fair on October 6. Programs that participate also will receive books from First 5 for the families they serve.”
Stone stressed that there is a wealth of research demonstrating how important it is for parents and their caregivers and teachers to build young children’s brain power and create strong bonds with them by talking, reading and singing as often at every opportunity. “We applaud First 5 for their efforts, and appreciate being able to support this effort,” added Stone.
More than 101 local child care providers attended the fairs held in Santa Barbara and Santa Maria. Each provider received $60 to100 credit depending on their commitment level and selected between 12 to 30 books in English and/or Spanish to strengthen the libraries at their home- or center-based child care facility. More than $10,000 worth of books were distributed as a thank you to the providers for encouraging parents to take the pledge and participate in more talking, reading, and singing at home.
Another key partner in the campaign is Children’s Resource and Referral of Santa Barbara County. Program Director Jacqui Banta said, “Talking and singing to children is free and something all parents and child care providers can engage in. At Children’s Resource and Referral, we know child care providers understand the importance of kindergarten readiness and that the word gap leads to an achievement gap. We encourage families and providers that starting today helps their children and it’s as easy as smiling, talking, singing and reading. Children’s Resource and Referral has more than 200 books (including bilingual) that anyone in the community may rent free of charge.”
The director of KinderKirk Preschool of Carpinteria, Kaleigh Williams, said, “I know how important it is for children to be able to see themselves in stories, which is why I was so impressed with the variety of genres and titles from which to choose from at the Book Fair. I chose stories that celebrate and reflect our children and their lives- stories about adoption, new siblings, divorce and family celebrations. Together with First 5, KinderKirk Preschool hopes to educate our families on the wonder of books, the joy of learning and how valuable it is to talk, read, sing. It really can change everything!”
First 5 Santa Barbara hopes to transform everyday places where families spend time together into language-rich environments. A community-wide multi-media campaign will reinforce these messages through bus ads and in paid media spots.
Families wishing to participate may take the pledge online at https://bit.ly/2EqGx9g to receive a book to read together and an 8-week parent workbook filled with tips and ideas of how to easily incorporate talking, reading, and singing into daily habits. This year, First 5 Santa Barbara County celebrates 20 years of supporting children and families. Literacy has been a key pillar of the organization’s work.