Groups Use Innovative Method to Boost Vocabularies of Toddlers in a Library Setting
Providence Talks and Providence Community Library (PCL) have partnered to present playgroups at three PCL locations: Mount Pleasant, Rochambeau and South Providence. The play groups are designed for parents with children aged 12-36 months who live in Providence. The play groups take Providence Talks’ groundbreaking teaching model and adapt it to a public, community setting. The goal is to encourage families to talk and read more to babies and toddlers and increase their exposure to words. Low-income children are often subject to a “word gap” so that by the time they reach their fourth birthday, they will have heard 30 million fewer words than their wealthier peers. It’s a problem for Providence, where only one in three children arrive at school at the appropriate literacy benchmark.
The play groups will meet for one hour a week for six weeks and enjoy hands-on creative activities, books and snacks. Each participating family will be issued with a "word pedometer" and coached on how to use it in their daily lives. The "pedometer" will count the number of words and conversational interactions experienced daily by the child. Recordings will be made one day per week for the duration of the program and families will receive a free book to take home and keep in exchange for a weekly report from the counting device. The playgroups will be co-facilitated by PCL children's librarians and trained staff from Providence Talks' partner agencies Family Service of RI, Meeting Street and Children's Friend.
"The play groups will follow a curriculum and provide us with an opportunity to show participants just how much PCL has to offer young families" said Youth Services Coordinator, Cheryl Space. "We'll encourage families to get involved with their local library, borrow books, and, as the baby gets older, transition to other PCL early childhood programs such as Cradle to Crayons and Ready for K," she added. PCL plans more Providence Talks playgroups at other locations and parents are encouraged to talk to their local librarians if they are interested.
Play groups are Thursdays, 11:30A.M. – 12:30P.M., beginning October 27 at South Providence Library (401-467-2619) and Mondays, 1:30P.M.-2:30P.M., beginning November 7 at Rochambeau Library (401-272-3780 X 1906). The play group at Mount Pleasant will begin in mid-November: please call for details (401-272-0106). Registration for play groups is required.