Sarah Niemann shares:
This book has provided multiple scientific studies and research and now it is time to look at how we can apply this information to spread the word and communicate the importance of a rich language environment, parent talk and its relation to the developing brain and the achievement gap many children in America face. Below are some ideas I thought about based on what I read or examples stated in the chapter. In the chapter they discussed the Thirty Million Words and the power of parent talk be included in discussions at obstetric clinics, maternity wards, physician offices, as part of early intervention curriculum, and being a part of standards that could be incorporated into state early learning standards for child care facilities. When I first thought about this, I must admit I got a little overwhelmed of how I could be a part of such a change. Soon though I started to try and break down the big picture a bit and think of simple things I could do on any given day to start to bring awareness to the program, the message and the implications. The list below are things I am committing to doing to feel empowered and to attempt to be part of the solution to the information I have been reading.
1) Passing this book along to others/buying them their own copy-This was mentioned in a comment from someone else on a previous chapter. They mentioned giving a copy of the book to expectant parents. After reading this book, it is going to be my new “baby shower gift” for the parent(s) to be.
2) “Be like James”-I was inspired by the example of the parent that Dr. Suskind discussed in the chapter that became an advocate for the 3T’s. I was impressed that this parent tried to pass the information on to other people he knew so that all kids could have the same advantage that his child had. It made me think of how if I just passed this information on to one person, and they told another person and so on the domino effect that could happen and the impact this could have. I thought it was creative of this parent to use Skype to spread the word to people he knew. While I do not have children in a child care setting I thought it was a great idea that this parent took it upon himself to talk to his son’s day care about the program. It made me think that if I spoke to my friends about this program, then they went to their children’s day care etc., what a great improvement this could lead to.
3) Contacting Public Health-this book has mentioned how early language environments and ensuring all children have access to rich language environments for their developing brain is part of public health. I was curious if the Louisville Public Health Department had any programs remotely related to early language environments and/or child development so I searched their website to see what I could find. There were several programs for helping women have healthy babies, access to medical care throughout their pregnancy and even mentioned coaching and home visits for proper child development. The list of programs and services gave contact information for a point person for each program and I am interested in contacting several programs that focus on birth to 3 to inquire on more specifics about what they include and if there were any other initiatives related to early language environments and supporting parents for creating these.
4) Social Media: Thirty Million Words initiative has a website and Facebook page and there are hashtags related to the key phrases. I have started following their Facebook page for the book and the program. A simple way to Spread the Word is liking/following the page, sharing posts, linking to the website etc. where others may come across it that were not be aware of the book or program. At the time I liked the page there were 819 followers
5) Donate: The website has a place for donations that can be made to the Thirty Million Words Initiative to support the work of the program, initiative and research. Even if it is just a little bit, I can skip a Starbucks trip and make a quick donation online.
The above is my starting point for applying and trying to take action based on all this information. I would love to hear what everyone else’s ideas are.