Every Child Thrives' initiatives are focused on building positive early childhood experiences that promote optimal brain development, laying a foundation for lifelong learning and health. ECT's TalkReadPlay With Your Child Every Day campaign was developed based on knowledge that 90% of a child's brain is developed in the first five years of life. To date, 400 TalkReadPlay trusted messengers are working to support early attachment and regular parent/child interactions by equipping parents with tools to be their child's first and most important teacher.
While focused on developing early positive experiences, ECT partners also recognize the effects that childhood adversity has on brain development. Over the last year, nine ECT partners—the Watertown Unified, Dodgeland, Hustisford and Jefferson School Districts; the Watertown Regional Medical Center; Watertown Police Department; Watertown Public Health; Jefferson County Human Services Department and Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation—participated in a national Trauma Informed, Resilience-Oriented Learning Community through the National Council for Behavioral Health. Understanding the impact that adverse childhood experiences have on lifelong health, they learned how resilience can be built by promoting safety, trustworthiness, collaboration, empowerment and choice within their practices.
"Research shows that negative early experiences physically and negatively alter brain development, increasing the likelihood of defensive and concerning behaviors, learning difficulties and challenges building healthy relationships," said Kathi Cauley, Jefferson County Human Services Director. "The good news is that research also tells us that these effects can be mitigated by positive early experiences – especially healthy, supportive and sustained relationships. Knowing this, we recognized the opportunity to learn about ways we can use relationships to build resilience, and we believe it's important to share this information with others."
At the November community conversations, ECT partners presented information to leaders from health and human service agencies, school districts, local government, the judicial system, law enforcement, libraries, health and dental care providers, the faith community and non-profits. They discussed how trauma-informed practices, relationships and protective factors, for example helping kids to understand their feelings, support resiliency. Stories of success were shared, including how schools use trauma-sensitive practices to reduce negative behaviors and improve student engagement and achievement.
The conversations inspired 30 organizations to sign pledges to strengthen their approaches to building resilience. They acknowledged understanding the correlation between trauma and resulting behavioral and health problems when it is unrecognized and unaddressed; and expressed a shared commitment to build protective factors that support a strong, resilient community where children and families thrive. Organizations made a specific commitment to advance their work, for example providing staff training to build awareness of trauma and protective factors.
"We are pleased to have such widespread support from our community in advancing work that will build positive relationships and experiences that support resilience," said Sarah Sullivan, Program Officer for the Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation, which provides backbone support for Every Child Thrives initiatives. "Other communities throughout the state are looking to us as leaders in securing commitments from multiple local organizations, all working together to ensure children and families thrive."
Any agency, organization, school, church, or business within Dodge and Jefferson County is invited to pledge to strengthen their approach to building resilience. Organizations that pledge will become part of a local learning community, receiving support from dozens of Every Child Thrives partners on a shared journey to build resilience by strengthening positive protective factors. For more information and to make a pledge, visit watertownhealthfoundation.com/everychildthrives/communityresilience.php.
Facilitated by the Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation, Every Child Thrives is a partnership of more than 30 Dodge and Jefferson County agencies working to ensure all children thrive in health, learning and life. For more information visit watertownhealthfoundation.com/everychildthrives.
Watertown, Wis. - The collaborative efforts of Every Child Thrives, a partnership of more than 30 organizations in Dodge and Jefferson counties, was featured this week in a three-hour workshop at the Wisconsin Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Conference, held Oct. 14-16 in Elkhart Lake.
Joining forces to share about their collective work to support children and families were representatives from the Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation, Watertown Unified School District, Dodgeland School District, Jefferson County Head Start, Jefferson County Birth to Three Program, Dodge County Birth to Three Program, Watertown Family Center, Future All Stars Academy (Juneau), Willows Christian Child Care Center (Iron Ridge), Community Care Preschool & Child Care (Beaver Dam), Cooperative Educational Service Agency (CESA) #2, UW-Madison Extension Dodge County and the Wisconsin Alliance for Infant Mental Health (WI-AIMH).
The key message of the Every Child Thrives presentation to 60 session attendees was that there is tremendous power in multiple organizations coming together with a shared vision and goals. Presenters shared information about how they are working together to reduce child abuse and neglect, prepare students for Kindergarten and ensure they are proficient readers by 3rd grade. They provided details about their work in action teams driven by common agendas, data-driven decisions and backbone support from a philanthropic organization.
"I'm inspired by the work being done through the collective impact effort in Dodge and Jefferson counties to promote social and emotional competence and overall well-being of infants and toddlers," said Lana Nenide, Executive Director of WI-AIMH. "The intentionality and vision to support every child from birth through the most foundational years in the context of their family, community, and culture is admirable. The framework of bringing multiple agencies and efforts together under collaborative leadership to ensure health and well-being should be replicated around the state."
Every Child Thrives partners shared how they have significantly increased Kindergarten readiness screenings in the last two years, how they are developing the social emotional skills of children with the evidence-based Pyramid Model in early education settings, and how they are equipping parents with tools needed to be their child's first teacher. A major part of the presentation focused on TalkReadPlay, a community awareness campaign aimed at increasing awareness and sparking positive change to boost early childhood brain and language development.
Established in 2001, the Wisconsin Alliance for Infant Mental Health (WI-AIMH) is a statewide non-profit dedicated to the promotion of social and emotional learning and relationship-based practices through raising public awareness; providing professional development; and advocating for policies which are in the best interest of babies, young children, and their families. For more information, visit wiaimh.org.
Facilitated by the Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation, Every Child Thrives is a partnership of more than 30 Dodge and Jefferson County agencies working to strengthen families, improve kindergarten readiness and ensure all children are reading proficiently by third grade. For more information, visit watertownhealthfoundation.com/everychildthrives.
Back row L to R: Linda Wallace, Watertown Unified School District; Jill Van Sickle, Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation (GWCHF); Karen Russell, CESA #2; Stephanie Curtis, Watertown Family Center; Patricia Carroll, UW-Madison Extension Dodge County; Tarasa Lown, GWCHF; Mary Anne Wieland, Jefferson County Head Start; Mindy Ganser, Dodgeland School District; Jenny Borst, Watertown Unified School District.
Front Row L to R: Renae Henning, Community Care Preschool & Child Care; Tricia Peterson, Future All Stars Academy; Brenda Schumacher, Willows Christian Child Care Center; Cassi Hurst, Dodge County Birth to Three; Beth Boucher, Jefferson County Birth to Three; Jenny Durand, Wisconsin Alliance for Infant Mental Health.
Watertown, Wis. - Every Child Thrives partners are pleased to announce a series of TalkReadPlay events on select Saturday mornings, providing opportunities for parent and child interaction with brain building activities. The free events, organized by the Watertown Public Library and Watertown Family Center, were planned in response to feedback that families are seeking educational opportunities for their young children on the weekends. The series will include the following family-friendly, interactive learning activities:
For a flyer listing all these events, visit https://talkreadplaywi.com/pdfs/SaturdayFamilyEvents.pdf
TalkReadPlay activities are designed to help parents and caregivers become their child's first teacher. "When parents talk, read and play with their babies and young children, they have an enormous positive impact on their brain development, vocabulary growth, school readiness, and future academic success," said Every Child Thrives Partner Tina Peerenboom, Watertown Public Library Children's Librarian.
Facilitated by the Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation, Every Child Thrives is a partnership of 30+ partners across Dodge and Jefferson Counties working to ensure every child thrives in health, learning and life.
TalkReadPlay is an Every Child Thrives community awareness campaign designed to teach parents and caregivers about the science of early brain development and help them create more brain building opportunities with their babies and young children. The Watertown Public Library and Watertown Family Center are TalkReadPlay partners, and are co-planning the weekend programming as plans are underway to build a flagship TalkReadPlay Center in the renovated Watertown Public Library. The TalkReadPlay Center will offer dynamic, playful learning spaces to support parents and caregivers as their child's first teacher, foster social and emotional life skills of children, and build strong families. For more information on TalkReadPlay, visit www.talkreadplaywi.com.
Watertown, Wis. - Every Child Thrives (ECT) has been awarded a grant from the Wisconsin Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board to support its work in improving outcomes for children and families in Dodge and Jefferson Counties.
The three-year grant, valued up to $247,000, will support ECT partners, which include childcare providers, schools, public health agencies, healthcare providers and non-profits, to make parenting education universally available using the Triple P Positive Parenting Program. Triple P provides evidence-based skills training and interventions for all parents who need it, when they need it.
Both counties have seen an increase in child maltreatment cases over the past three years and the ECT partners are eager to implement evidence-based interventions to help reverse this trend.
"Our vision is that all children thrive in health, learning and life," said Every Child Thrives partner Pattie Carroll, Human Development and Relationships Educator with the University of Wisconsin Division of Extension in Dodge County. "Providing parents and families with education, tools and support will help us achieve that."
"Triple P is an evidence-based program that has been successful with improving health outcomes in communities around the world," said Sarah Myers, Program Officer with the Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation. "We are grateful that the Wisconsin Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board recognized the need in our community for a collaborative effort that will support the wellbeing of Dodge and Jefferson County children and help families become stronger."
The grant supports one year of capacity building work during which a design team will work with the community to determine how best to apply Triple P programming to the region. Upon satisfactory completion of the planning year, Every Child Thrives will be eligible for two years of implementation funding. For more information on the Triple P, visit triplep.net.
Facilitated by the Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation (GWCHF), Every Child Thrives (ECT) is a partnership of more than 30 Dodge and Jefferson County agencies working to strengthen families, improve kindergarten readiness and ensure all children are reading proficiently by third grade. For more information, visit watertownhealthfoundation.com/everychildthrives.
The next time you stop at the grocery store, you might run into cartoon characters Max and Emmy. These friendly, happy characters have a serious job: transforming your shopping trip into a fun learning experience. Max and Emmy are the faces of the new TalkReadPlay Learning Adventure, a pilot project of Every Child Thrives.
The TalkReadPLay Learning Adventure, launched at Watertown Piggly Wiggly, is the next phase of TalkReadPlay with your child every day campaign aimed at inspiring interaction among parents and their young children.
As parents move throughout the store, Max and Emmy along with their friends appear on brightly colored signs, encouraging parents to engage babies and young children in simple activities to help them learn.
An example: "Apples are red. Where are other red fruits and veggies?" Another: "Give your child cans to hold. Ask them which is heavier? Which is bigger?"
The prompts are designed to help parents talk, read and play during "everyday moments", including a trip to the grocery store, to create early learning experiences for their children.
Facilitated by the Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation (GWCHF), Every Child Thrives (ECT) is a partnership of more than 30 Dodge and Jefferson County agencies working to strengthen families, improve kindergarten readiness and ensure all children are reading proficiently by third grade. ECT's TalkReadPlay with your child every day campaign supports parents and caregivers with tools to help children grow and learn.
"Throughout the first few years of life, a child's brain builds the foundation for all future learning," said Tina Crave, GWCHF President and CEO. "Parents have an enormous impact on how well children learn to communicate and understand new ideas. But parents are busy and often feel like they don't have enough quality time with their children. Talking, reading and playing during everyday activities like grocery shopping creates ‘learning moments' that helps a child's brain grow."
"Even though babies don't talk until later, brain development for communication peaks at 7 months," said Tarasa Lown, GWCHF Program Officer. "By age five, ninety percent of overall brain development has already happened. The TalkReadPlay Learning Adventure shows parent and caregivers that early learning can be fun and easy and can take place anytime, anywhere," said Lown.
To celebrate the opening of the TalkReadPlay Learning Adventure, a kick-off event is planned for Saturday, March 2 from 10:00am-2:00pm at the Watertown Piggly Wiggly. A children's book will be given to the first 100 families with infants through age five, and a social media challenge will be held to win Piggly Wiggly gift cards.
If this pilot TalkReadPlay Learning Adventure is successful, Every Child Thrives plans to expand the adventure to other area grocery stores.
With a goal of ensuring every child has the opportunity to thrive in health, learning and life, the Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation (GWCHF) has pledged more than $4 million in support of TalkReadPlay over the next five years. To learn more about TalkReadPlay and to access tips and tools for parents and caregivers visit www.TalkReadPlayWI.com.
With the help of TalkReadPlay characters Max and Emmy, Every Child Thrives (ECT) partners shared with parents and caregivers the importance of early learning and how easy it can be at its recent TalkReadPlay Learning Adventure kick-off. The Learning Adventure is designed to turn an ordinary shopping trip into a fun learning experience.
The TalkReadPay Learning Adventure, piloted at Watertown Piggly Wiggly, is a part of the TalkReadPlay With Your Child Every Day campaign and is aimed at inspiring learning interactions between parents and their young children. As families move through the store, activity prompts encourage parents to engage with their child in a meaningful way.
Facilitated by the Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation (GWCHF), Every Child Thrives is a partnership of more than 30 Dodge and Jefferson County agencies working to strengthen families, improve kindergarten readiness and ensure all children are reading proficiently by third grade. ECT's TalkReadPlay With Your Child Every Day campaign supports parents and caregivers with tools to help children grow and learn.
"The Learning Adventure presents the TalkReadPlay message in a fun and engaging way. The feedback we received from parents, grandparents and children at the kick-off was very positive," said Tarasa Lown, GWCHF Healthy Child Development Program Officer.
Signage displayed throughout the store prompts parents to engage babies and young children in simple activities to help them learn. The adventure is geared toward children ages newborn to five-the time when the brain grows fastest.
Along with activities, early learning tips for parents are displayed throughout the store.
"A fact that surprises most parents is by the time a child enters Kindergarten, 90% of brain development has already happened," said Lown.
The Learning Adventure turns everyday moments into learning moments.
"Parents are busy and often feel like they don't have enough quality time with their children. What we want to show is early learning can happen outside formal settings such as a school, museum or zoo. Learning can take place anytime, anywhere-even during a trip to the grocery store," Lown said.
The TalkReadPlay Learning Adventure will be on display indefinitely at Watertown Piggly Wiggly. Prompts will be changed periodically to keep the adventure fresh.
"There is science behind every activity. The activities encourage early literacy and math skills as well as social-emotional skills. Learning these skills when they are young will help them hit age-appropriate milestones in school and ultimately lead to positive life outcomes," Lown said.
Through the month of March, families who participate in the Learning Adventure are encouraged to check the TalkReadPlay Facebook page for challenges and a chance to win $25 Piggly Wiggly gift cards.
If this TalkReadPlay Learning Adventure pilot is successful, Every Child Thrives plans to expand the adventure to other area grocery stores.
With the goal of ensuring every child has the opportunity to thrive in health, learning and life, the Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation (GWCHF) has pledged more than $4 million in support of TalkReadPlay over the next five years. To learn more about TalkReadPlay and to access tips and tools for parents and caregivers visit www.TalkReadPlayWI.com.