FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 24, 2014
Multi-Media Campaign Will Empower Parents and Family Members of Young Children to Realize Their Potential as Their Children’s First Teachers by Offering Tools and Tips to Boost Vocabulary and Early Learning
Tulsa, OK—Local community leaders in Tulsa, Oklahoma will come together today to join forces with Too Small to Fail, a joint initiative of Next Generation and the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, to announce the launch of a new local campaign that will help parents and caregivers of children ages birth to five prepare their children for success in school and beyond.
Tulsa has notably emerged as a national leader in its commitment to early childhood education. The campaign, titled “Talking is Teaching”, has been developed in partnership with local community organizations that have extensive experience in improving early learning and health among Tulsa families, including the George Kaiser Family Foundation, CAP Tulsa, and Tulsa Educare. The campaign will use a community-wide approach—engaging pediatricians, business owners, faith-based leaders, librarians and others—to empower parents and caregivers to boost young children’s brain development and build their vocabularies by increasing the number of words they hear spoken to them every day.
Upon learning about the effort, U.S. Senator from Oklahoma and family physician Tom Coburn expressed support for the campaign: “When it comes to raising children no one knows better—or cares more—than parents. Every parent wants to ensure the healthy development of their infants and toddlers. I appreciate what the George Kaiser Family Foundation and others are doing to help convey to parents the best advice about what they can do to encourage the physical, cognitive and personal development of their children.”
When parents and caregivers talk, read and sing to their young children every day, they help develop important vocabulary as well as cognitive, social and emotional skills necessary for later learning. Put simply, the more words children hear spoken to them directly every day, the better they learn.
According to recent field research conducted, a majority of low-income parents, grandparents and other caregivers in Tulsa recognize that they personally have an impact on their child’s brain development. Yet, many of those surveyed admit that they could be doing more on a daily basis to help their children increase their vocabulary:
- Only 55 percent of parents and 47 percent of grandparents report reading to their children every day.
- Fewer than half report telling their children a story, singing a song or playing a non-electronic game every day.
“Talking is Teaching” will share with parents and caregivers how simple actions—like describing objects seen during a walk or bus ride, singing songs, or telling stories for just five minutes, three times a day—can significantly improve a baby’s ability to learn new words and concepts.
“Through my involvement with Educare,” said Rondalyn Abode, Tulsa Educare parent and employee, “I was taught that I can be the very best teacher for my children. It's good to have resources and support to help me do this. The ‘Talking is Teaching’ campaign will help bring resources and support to a broader audience, and it’s exciting that this is starting in Tulsa."
In addition to creative messaging from the campaign that will appear throughout the community, local partners and pediatricians will disseminate messages directly to parents and caregivers using family toolkits developed with Sesame Workshop; and to pediatricians using clinical toolkits on early literacy developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The campaign will also test new technology developed by the Bezos Family Foundation to help remind parents to build these activities into their daily lives.
“Talking is Teaching” will be developed as a model that can be learned from and shared in other communities across the country.
A PDF of tips for parents is available for download at www.talkingisteaching.org. Additional samples of the message campaign will be made available to members of the press upon request.
About Too Small to Fail
Too Small to Fail, a joint initiative of Next Generation and the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, aims to help parents, communities and businesses take meaningful actions to improve the health and well-being of children ages zero to five, so that more of America’s children are prepared to succeed in the 21st century.
In 2014, Too Small to Fail will focus its work on closing the “word gap.” Studies have found that by age four, children in upper class families hear approximately 30 million more words than children in low-income families. This disparity in hearing words from parents and caregivers translates directly into a disparity in learning words. And that puts our children born with the fewest advantages even further behind. Among those born in 2001, only 48 percent of poor children started school ready to learn, compared to 75 percent of children from middle-income families.
The “word gap” is a significant but solvable challenge. Too Small to Fail is about parents, caregivers, other concerned individuals, and the private sector coming together to take small, research-based actions with big impacts.
Learn more at www.toosmall.org, and on Twitter @2SmalltoFail.
About Next Generation
Next Generation promotes solutions to two of the biggest challenges confronting the next generation of Americans, including the threat of diminished prospects for children and families. Through the use of non-partisan research, policy development, and strategic communications, we identify strategies that help deploy clean, advanced energy technologies; we also work to ensure a level playing field from which today’s kids can build a brighter future. Learn more at www.thenextgeneration.org, www.facebook.com/thenextgeneration.org and on Twitter @nextgen_USA.
About The Clinton Foundation
The Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation convenes businesses, governments, NGOs, and individuals to improve global health and wellness, increase opportunity for women and girls, reduce childhood obesity, create economic opportunity and growth, and help communities address the effects of climate change. Because of our work, 20,000 American schools are providing kids with healthy food choices in an effort to eradicate childhood obesity; 21,000 African farmers have improved their crops to feed 30,000 people; 248 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions are being reduced in cities worldwide; more than 5,000 people have been trained in marketable job skills in Colombia; more than 6.8 million people have benefited from lifesaving HIV/AIDS medications; $100 million in strategic investments have been made, impacting the health of 25 million people in the U.S.; and members of the Clinton Global Initiative have made nearly 2,500 Commitments to Action to improve more than 430 million lives around the world. Learn more at http://www.clintonfoundation.org, and on Twitter @ClintonFdn.
About George Kaiser Family Foundation
George Kaiser Family Foundation (GKFF) is a charitable organization dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty through investments in early childhood education, community health, social services and civic enhancement. Based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, GKFF works primarily on initiatives developed in collaboration with Tulsa-based direct service organizations. For more information about George Kaiser Family Foundation, visit www.gkff.org.
About Tulsa Educare, Inc.
Tulsa Educare, Inc. (TEI) is a not-for-profit organization created to provide high-quality early childhood education and care to low-income families living in Tulsa. TEI was created through a partnership with Tulsa Public Schools, George Kaiser Family Foundation, Family and Children’s Services, Tulsa Community Foundation, Community Action Project of Tulsa County, the University of Oklahoma and the Educare Learning Network. TEI currently provides year round, full day education and care for more than 530 Tulsa at-risk children and their families. For more information about Tulsa Educare, Inc., visit www.tulsaeducare.org.
About Community Action Project
CAP Tulsa is a nationally recognized provider of research-based, high-quality early childhood education for low-income children age newborn to 4-years-old. CAP Tulsa’s mission is to help families in need achieve economic self-sufficiency. Our vision for the future is that children grow up and achieve economic success so that their children are not born into poverty. Our method is to combine early childhood education of the highest caliber with innovative family financial and health services and targeted community improvement efforts. More information is available at www.captc.org.