In order to help families READ, TALK and PLAY with their little ones, First 5 Lex has worked with community partners to support the following programs:
1. Add a book for 2-week-old babies’ check-ups through Reach Out and Read participating clinics:
The book “I Love You Like Sunshine” is designed for parents to read to their babies, but it is also filled with practical advice and tips based on brain development. Over 2,500 books have been distributed to Reach Out and Read to be given at the 2-week checkup thus far.
2. Create neighborhood Read to Me Libraries:
In an effort to reach families with children birth to age 5, Read to Me Libraries have been developed in specific communities. Read to Me Libraries seeks partnership with small businesses (barber shops, salons, laundromats, etc.) and agencies serving families with preschool children. Currently, 8 libraries are up and running in the following locations:
Community Action Council (2)
Family Care Center (1)
WIC Offices (2)
Health First Clinics (2)
Lexington Housing Authority (1)
Step by Step (1)
Beyond Birth at UK College of Nursing (1)
Resources Education and Assistance for Community Housing (REACH) (1)
King Kuts (1)
3. Outreach to families through WIC offices, Health First Bluegrass and UK Clinics
Information about early brain development and the importance of parent/child interaction is shared through: slides on televisions in waiting rooms, wall posters in exam rooms, and activity cards given to parents with suggested games to play, conversations to have, books to read, and songs to sing with their children.
4. Provide an activity app for families:
The First 5 Lex app is available for iPhone and Android devices for free, and suggests daily activities to do with your children that support school readiness in a variety of areas. The app has been downloaded over 3,000 times!
5. Provide quality resources for early childhood professionals:
Training and materials provided through the FCPS Early Childhood Summit and made available through the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood’s Quality Improvement Grant support childcare providers as they seek to READ, TALK, and PLAY with preschoolers.
6. Strengthen families:
Several learning opportunities have been made available to empower families and increase their knowledge and understanding of early childhood development. Examples include the United Way Born Learning Academy, the FCPS Family University series, and the district’s Learning Guides for Families (preschool through fifth grade, available in multiple languages).