90% of a child’s brain develops before age 5 and early learning experiences are critical to that development. Realizing the importance of these early years for school readiness, KET partnered with PBS in the Ready To Learn Initiative that helps prepare kids for school through educational television programs and digital media resources. The efforts are seeing results (especially among the high-risk populations) and other programs are being put in place that target the pre-K years of learning.
“In the early committee meetings, we were happy to share our experiences supporting a similar program in Louisville, the Ready for K Alliance,” states KET’s Director of Early Childhood Education, Amanda Wright, “we hoped our lessons learned from there and from our partnership with PBS would be a great starting point for the program.”
The KET team pulled from its Ready To Learn resources and experiences to help create a framework for what would become the First 5 Lex – Read, Talk, and Play program. By encouraging parents and other care-givers to interact more with kids through simple, everyday learning interactions, a foundation for success in school can be established well before they step into their first classroom.
With the help of the community, the following resources have been developed to support the initiative’s fundamentals of reading, talking, and playing with preschoolers:
- Reach Out and Read – participating clinics give the book, “I Love You Like Sunshine” at the 2-week wellness exam designed to encourage caregivers to start reading to baby and to give information on early brain development.
- “Read, Talk, and Play” activity centers at Kroger – KET used Ready To Learn content to develop the first round of literacy-based activity cards for families to complete together while shopping. These cards encourage fun interaction while in the store and offer suggestions for continuing the education experience once families are at home.
- Neighborhood “Read to Me” libraries – curated reading kiosks that will be established throughout the community in places where parents gather with their young children such as barber shops, salons, laundromats, health clinics, etc. The first location is open at the Family Care Center.
- Resources for childcare providers – training and materials are available to support childcare providers as the seek to read, talk, and play with preschoolers. KET is providing Ready To Learn content for the November 4th Lexington Summit for teachers.
- First 5 Lex app – available for iPhone and Android devices for free, this app provides daily activities to do with kids to support school readiness.
- Family learning opportunities – empowering families and increasing their knowledge of early childhood development is key and there will be several avenues made available for learning.
Keep up with all the activities and resources available through First Five Lex’s active Facebook page. You can also contact Alice Nelson, Early childhood Coordinator for FCPS for additional information on available services or how you can help.