PLAY AND LEARN PROGRAM
Daily Dose of Reading’s Play and Learn program, which combines talking, singing, reading and playing, is designed to improve the pre-literacy language skills of pre-K children in at-risk communities. This intensive early childhood pre-literacy curriculum integrates learning activities in the classroom, provides professional development for early childhood teachers and distributes books to participating children, including literacy activity guides for their parents to use at home.
DDR’s Play and Learn program currently serves approximately 730 children at eight Council for Economic Opportunities in Greater Cleveland (CEOGC) Head Start sites across the city of Cleveland as well as at two Cleveland Metropolitan School District schools.
Each month the Play & Learn curriculum is introduced to Head Start teachers. Materials and ideas are discussed that can be integrated into each classroom. The program also gives teachers an opportunity to observe different techniques for engaging children using the “Talk, Sing, Read, Play” activities.
Children also receive a new copy of a book read in each Play & Learn session to help build their own home library. Along with the book, the children are given “homework” for parents and caregivers that explains how the classroom activities can be repeated at home.
DDR literacy specialists also participate in parent nights at the participating Head Start sites, where they act as a resource to parents to help them play a greater role in the language development of their children. At these events, they present and discuss classroom objectives, model activities for parents and provide resources to improve the home learning environment.
Beginning in the 2018-19 academic year, DDR also began serving children from 6-weeks to 3 years in CEOGC’s Early Head Start sites. A substantial body of research shows that at-risk children, on average, fall behind their peers in vocabulary by age 3, and that the gap persists throughout the school years.
DDR has modified its Play & Learn curriculum to address the younger Early Head Start children by including more interactive activities such as songs, finger plays and crafts. Books are age appropriate as are recommended reading and other materials for teachers and parents.