HOW DO YOU CHANGE A CHILD’S FUTURE? TALK WITH INFANTS AND TODDLERS

Public-private partnership launches free, online effort to accelerate language and literacy development nationwide

 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contacts:

Amy DiElsi, 215.990.3006 / moc.1493026087ciget1493026087artsn1493026087osboc1493026087aj@ym1493026087a1493026087

Kate Centofanti, 203.912.9279 / moc.c1493026087igeta1493026087rtsno1493026087sboca1493026087j@eta1493026087k1493026087

 

ATLANTA, GA (November 14, 2016) – A powerful public-private partnership today is launching an online state-of-the-art course for teachers who impact the lives of infants and toddlers to stop the illiteracy epidemic in the United States. The launch coincides with the first day of American Education Week. The course is titled Talk With Me Baby and includes two lessons developed in collaboration with the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University.

 

Talk With Me Baby provides a delivery system for every teacher to coach every parent in the critical importance of language and literacy development – all day, every day — from the earliest days of life onward. The course has wide application not just in Georgia but across the United States and aims to help young citizens learn to read and thrive for the rest of their lives. Years in the making, the course becomes a new and foundational component of the free and universally accessible Cox Campus developed by the Atlanta Speech School – a state-of-the-art online learning platform backed up with real-world classroom videos, on-line coaching, message boards and other interactive features.

 

“The stimulation of healthy brain development as well as language and literacy in a baby’s life is critical,” said Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D., Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and State Health Officer. “Early brain development is the foundation for a healthier, educated, prosperous future for Georgia and the world. And it all starts with language and talking with your baby.”

 

According to The National Assessment of Educational Progress, only 36 percent of American fourth graders are reading at grade level. What many do not realize is that the foundation for literacy is built starting at birth and there is an especially important window of brain development from birth to age three. To provide this opportunity, teachers, parents and other adults who reach our youngest children must receive the knowledge and training to become conversational partners with the children in their lives. The power of cutting-edge technology can now be applied to accelerate broader understanding and action – regardless of Zip Code – to drive forward healthy brain development and oral language and literacy development across Georgia and the country.

 

In addition to the Atlanta Speech School and DPH, other partners include Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, Better Brains for Babies, and the Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students (GEEARS). All the Georgia partners are working in concert with an initiative called Get Georgia Reading and Talk With Me Baby live training programs across the state – relying on nurses and other professionals who touch the lives of young children and their parents. Both those efforts also are committed to reaching the 2020 Promise – a state-wide goal that by the year 2020, all of Georgia’s children will be on a path to reading proficiently by the end of third grade.

 

“As the first state in the nation to offer universal Pre-K, Georgia has long understood the importance of quality early childhood education,” said Amy M. Jacobs, Commissioner of Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning. “Through this unique collaboration with the Georgia Department of Public Health, the Atlanta Speech School, and Harvard University, we continue to demonstrate the state’s commitment to ensuring that Georgia’s children are equipped to succeed in school and ultimately in the workforce.”

 

Drawing on research from Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child, lessons within the course share useful strategies on how to build the necessary brain architecture needed for language acquisition. “Responsive and attentive interaction between adults and children builds a strong foundation for all future learning and development,” said Jack P. Shonkoff, M.D., the Center’s director. “The brain develops most rapidly in the early years, so helping adult caregivers build the skills they need to support brain development well before school begins can have a lifelong impact on the learning and future health of all children.”

 

“We’re facing a national illiteracy epidemic of our own making because we are waiting too long to focus on building the reading brain,” said Comer Yates, Executive Director of the Atlanta Speech School. “We’re ignoring the research of the nation’s experts who know what to do to end the crisis. If there were a national epidemic with life-stunting consequences for children — with a known vaccine that was sitting on the shelf to which a fraction of the nation’s children had access and its distribution was based on Zip Code, race and ethnicity — we would not tolerate that result for one minute. That is not who we are as a country.”

 

The expanded curriculum launching today will be added to the current trainings being offered by the Atlanta Speech School’s Cox Campus, which is increasingly recognized as an important national resource for teachers of young children. The courses are free and universally accessible for teachers and adults who interact with infants and toddlers. Last week, the James M. Cox Foundation donated an additional $2.8 million to further the impact of the Cox Campus in Georgia and beyond.

 

The recent launch of the Atlanta Speech School’s viral video titled “Every Opportunity,” with more than 34 million views, made adults around the world rethink how they speak with children in elementary school. This video was the sequel to the award-winning, and equally eye opening, video titled, “The Promise,” which offers a compelling first-hand perspective from preschoolers who ask adults to talk with them more instead of telling them to be quiet.

 

To sign up for the courses on the Cox Campus, including Talk With Me Baby, and to learn more visit www.ReadRightFromTheStart.org.

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About the Atlanta Speech School
Positioned at the intersection of brain science and social science, the Atlanta Speech School effects transformative change in the lives of children and adults through research-based practices, innovation, advocacy, and partnerships with other organizations so that each child at the Atlanta Speech School and every child in Georgia can acquire the language and literacy abilities essential for deciding his or her own future. Established in 1938, the Atlanta Speech School is one of the nation’s most comprehensive centers for language and literacy. Composed of four schools, five clinics, summer programs and a professional development center, each division shares one common mission: to work within each program and collaborate across all programs to help each person develop his or her full potential through language and literacy. Each day, extraordinarily dedicated and talented individuals make profound differences in the lives of the children and adults they serve helping them discover their voice, and the power of that voice for a lifetime.

 

About Bright from the Start
Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning is responsible for meeting the child care and early education needs of Georgia’s children and their families. It administers the nationally recognized Georgia’s Pre-K Program, licenses child care centers and home-based child care, administers Georgia’s Childcare and Parent Services (CAPS) program, federal nutrition programs, and manages Quality Rated, Georgia’s community powered child care rating system. The department also houses the Head Start State Collaboration Office, distributes federal funding to enhance the quality and availability of child care, and works collaboratively with Georgia child care resource and referral agencies and organizations throughout the state to enhance early care and education. For more information, go to www.decal.ga.gov.

 

About the Talk With Me Baby partnership
Talk With Me Baby is a partnership of six lead organizations that are committed to ensuring that every newborn in Georgia receives essential language nutrition and has the opportunity to reach their full potential. The lead partners are: the Georgia Department of Public Health and Department of Education, Emory University’s Nell Hodgson School of Nursing and Department of Pediatrics, the Marcus Autism Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, the Atlanta Speech School’s Rollins Center for Language and Literacy, and Get Georgia Reading – Georgia’s Campaign for Grade Level Reading. As leaders in the field of health, education, and policy, these partners understand the impact that abundant “language nutrition” has on early brain development and how it sets the stage for success in school and the workplace which in turn affects health and well-being.
 
This public-private coalition is committed to addressing literacy gaps through Georgia’s Talk With Me Baby initiative, which includes live training of parents by nurses and other professionals who touch young children’s lives. By 2017, Talk With Me Baby aims to reach all newborns in the Atlanta metro region, where 61,000 births occur each year. By 2020, access to language nutrition will extend across Georgia, reaching the 130,000 babies born each year.

 

About GEEARS
The Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students (GEEARS) works to inspire and provide leadership for a statewide movement on quality early learning and healthy development for children ages birth to five. GEEARS works across the state of Georgia to align and mobilize key stakeholders in the business, civic, and legislative communities as well as to engage providers, parents, and other advocacy organizations to close the school readiness gap so that every child in Georgia is prepared to succeed when he or she enters kindergarten. GEEARS focuses on funding and investments, quality improvements and systems change through innovation, and access and affordability of health care and high quality programs. GEEARS vision is, by 2020, all students will enter kindergarten prepared to succeed and on a path to read to learn by third grade.

 

About Better Brains for Babies
Better Brains for Babies (BBB) is a collaboration of state and local, public and private organizations dedicated to promoting awareness and education about the importance of early brain development in the healthy growth and development of infants and young children in Georgia. To learn more about the history of the better brains for babies initiative, visit http://bbbgeorgia.org/aboutUs.

 

About the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University.
Founded in 2006, the Center’s mission is to drive science-based innovation that achieves breakthrough outcomes for children facing adversity. Based on the belief that the science of child development provides a powerful source of ideas for supporting children and families, the Center tests and implements new strategies in collaboration with a broad network of research, practice, policy, community, and philanthropic leaders. Together, we seek transformational improvements in lifelong educational achievement, economic security, and physical and mental health. www.developingchild.harvard.edu

 


 

Atlanta Speech School debuts new video as part of a movement to demand something different from early education

Breaking our Country’s Illiteracy Epidemic

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contacts:

Amy DiElsi, 215.990.3006 / moc.1493026087ciget1493026087artsn1493026087osboc1493026087aj@ym1493026087a1493026087

Kate Centofanti, 203.912.9279 / moc.c1493026087igeta1493026087rtsno1493026087sboca1493026087j@eta1493026087k1493026087

ATLANTA, GA (August 19, 2016) – The Atlanta Speech School, one of the nation’s most comprehensive centers for language and literacy, is calling for a change in the ecosystems of schools to encourage brain development and literacy. As part of this call to action, it has launched a compelling new video titled “Every Opportunity,” which demonstrates how changes in adult behavior, both inside and outside of the classroom, can enhance a child’s approach and her ability to learn.

 

“Everyone a child meets throughout the day can make a difference – all the difference,” said Comer Yates, Executive Director of the Atlanta Speech School. “Every time a child is ignored, or yelled at or silenced, a teacher takes away what is possible. As the video exemplifies, each of these moments can be missed opportunities to empower a child and develop their vocabulary.”

 

The video stars a young boy who explains what it feels like when an adult ignores him or loses patience with him. It also offers examples for how teachers, school bus drivers, and school staff can make the most of every interaction with students to help them discover their voice, and the power of that voice for a lifetime. This video is the sequel to the award-winning 2020 Promise Video about the power of language and literacy well before kindergarten begins.

 

“There are millions of children across the country whose brains and hearts are prepared to be citizens of the world but are met with instruction in preschool and beyond that doesn’t match the latest science,” said Yates. “The way we train our teachers should be about empowerment and that is what the Atlanta Speech School is committed to both inside our school walls, and in classrooms in Atlanta and around the United States.”

 

To make the video a reality, The Rollins Center for Language & Literacy at the Atlanta Speech School is committed to providing Georgia educators with the tools to successfully achieve “The 2020 Promise” – a state-wide expectation that, by the year 2020, all of Georgia’s children will be on a path to reading proficiently by the end of third grade. The Rollins Center through its Read Right From the Start initiative offers professional development programs to teachers either onsite, or online at no charge through its Cox Campus portal. These courses reach approximately 11,000 teachers, parents, and caregivers. While developed for Georgia teachers, the program is utilized by teachers in all 50 states. Courses for kindergarten through third grade teachers are being added and will be complete before the 2017-18 school year.

 

The new video can be shared with caregivers, teachers, bus drivers, and coaches to show how important it is to engage children in a positive conversation at every opportunity to help them find their own voices so they can become who they are meant to be.

 

For video subtitles in French and Spanish, click on the closed captioning (cc) button in the bottom right corner of the video on YouTube and change your language using the gear button for settings next to the cc button.

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About the Atlanta Speech School: Positioned at the intersection of brain science and social science, the Atlanta Speech School effects transformative change in the lives of children and adults through research-based practices, innovation, advocacy, and partnerships with other organizations so that each child at the Atlanta Speech School and every child in Georgia can acquire the language and literacy abilities essential for deciding his or her own future. Established in 1938, the Atlanta Speech School is one of the nation’s most comprehensive centers for language and literacy. Composed of four schools, five clinics, summer programs and a professional development center, each division shares one common mission: to work within each program and collaborate across all programs to help each person develop his or her full potential through language and literacy. Each day, extraordinarily dedicated and talented individuals make profound differences in the lives of the children and adults they serve helping them discover their voice, and the power of that voice for a lifetime.

 

The Rollins Center for Language & Literacy provides professional development for teachers of children birth through third grade. Partnering with public and private organizations and with a reach of more than 11,000 teachers, parents and caregivers through the online Cox Campus, the center delivers effective language and literacy strategies used to transform young lives.