Ready4K text-based educational family engagement program available at no cost through end of school year for parents to support at-home learning during COVID-19 pandemic
ParentPowered, a public benefit corporation established to pursue social impact by creating and providing parents with easy-to-use educational tools, has begun offering its Ready4K family engagement program at no cost through the end of the 2019-2020 school year to early education providers across the country in an effort to support at-home learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. School districts, Head Starts, public and private educational institutions, child care facilities and other community organizations can request the Ready4K program for the parents they serve at www.Ready4K.com.
Currently, more than 300,000 families across the country in all 50 states use Ready4K, with almost two-thirds of those families being economically disadvantaged.
Developed by educational researchers, Ready4K is an evidence-based family engagement curriculum delivered via text messages. The Ready4K curriculum is aligned to nationwide learning standards with content on language and literacy, math and science, social and emotional learning, physical development, health and safety. Each week, parents and caregivers receive three texts: Monday, a fact to inform and motivate; Wednesday, a tip for activities that build on family routines; and Friday, a text focusing on growth to reinforce, encourage and extend the activities of the week.
Following are some facts and guidance for parents to use while at home with their children:
Child Stress: Your child may be young, but they can still feel stress. Time spent with you just snuggling and being together is a great way to relieve their stress. As your child lies in bed, snuggle or hold their hand. Ask about their day. Try questions like, "Did any hard things happen today? How are you feeling about tomorrow?" Young children often don’t have the words to talk about stress. Instead they might be extra clingy, have a hard time sleeping or say they have a stomach ache. Reach out to your doctor if you have concerns.
Virtual Connections: Even when your child can't be around their friends, schoolmates, teacher or extended family, they can still reach out through phone calls, texts, emails and video. Social connections are particularly important during challenging times. Do activities that help your child feel connected with others. You might look at family photos, write a letter to a friend or call a family member and have a snack while you’re on the phone together.
Deep Breathing: A few deep breaths can help children calm down. That makes deep breathing a powerful tool for facing challenges and managing emotions. Practice deep breathing. At bedtime, sit together and hold up your fingers like candles. Show your child how to take a deep breath and slowly blow them out. Keep taking deep breaths. When your child is feeling frustrated, stop and sit together. Pretend to slowly blow out 3 finger candles one-by-one.
Reading: Sharing books builds your bond with your child. It builds their literacy skills too. Read in any language you like and don't worry about mistakes. Your voice makes books special. Before you start a book, look at the cover together. Ask, "What do you think this story will be about?" Questions help children get more out of the story. Keep asking questions about books and pause to ask questions as you read. Try questions like, "WHY did he do that? HOW do you think he feels?"
Phonemic Awareness: Rhyming helps children discover that different words can share the same sounds. This discovery helps them learn to read down the line. Rhyme with objects. As you cook, point to the pot and ask, "What rhymes with pot (hot, dot, lot)? How about lid (kid, did, bid)?" Keep rhyming! Now rhyme with things you see on the table. What rhymes with spoon (moon, noon)? How about plate (late, date)?
Math: In order to add things in math, children must first understand that adding is putting things together. You can build this understanding with games. Play sock basketball. Toss socks into the laundry. Ask, "How many landed inside the bin? How many landed outside? How many socks is that altogether?" Keep adding to thrive in math. After your child adds something, talk about how they got the answer. Ask, "What did you do to figure that out?"
Some other fun ideas for parents wanting to make the most out of their time home with their children:
Start your day with a question. In the morning, ask, "If you could ride an animal around the world, what animal would you pick? Why?" Share your answer too.
Before preparing a meal, set out crayons and paper. Ask your child to draw all over the paper using lots of color. Use their creation as a place mat.
At breakfast ask, "What did you dream last night?" Write down your child’s words as they describe a dream. Then read their words aloud as a story.
Add a little math to your morning. As your child gets dressed, hunt for shapes on their clothing. What shape is the tag? What shape is the pocket?
Do activities that help your child feel connected with others. You might look at family photos, write a letter to a friend or call a family member and have a snack while you are on the phone together.
At bedtime, look at a favorite family photo with your child. Tell the photo's story: "This picture is of the time that aunt Linda and I visited a farm…"
Move like animals all day. Can your child slither out of bed like a snake? Waddle to the bathroom like a penguin? Stretch like a giraffe as they dress?
Give fun physical challenges throughout the day. Can your child run in place while you do the dishes? Hop down the hall on their way to the bathroom?
Ready4K has the strongest evidence base in the field and the program is continuously being evaluated and improved through ongoing partnerships with academics at Stanford, Brown and Notre Dame Universities. The Ready4K approach has been shown to increase family engagement at home and school and increase child learning by 2-3 months over the course of a school year.
ParentPowered is a public benefit corporation that was established to pursue social impact by creating and providing parents with easy-to-use educational tools. The company’s primary product is Ready4K, an evidence-based family engagement curriculum delivered via text messages geared toward children from birth through fourth grade. ParentPowered provides parents its products and services through school districts, Head Starts, public and private educational institutions, child care facilities and other community organizations and works to ensure equitable learning access to parents regardless of their economic situation. The company was founded in 2016 and is headquartered in San Mateo, California. More information is available at www.ParentPowered.com.
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