Parent-Child Home Program plants seeds for reading in young children
“Refrigerator!” cries three-year-old Jasmine Coshem as she sits on the floor with her mother, Kamaria, her eight-year-old sister, Luthiyah, and Samsidah Aly, a Neighborhood House home visitor.
They are bent over a wooden puzzle made to look like a kitchen and exchanging words in Cham, Vietnamese and English. The puzzle is complete with cabinets that open to reveal pots and pans, a window that slides open to uncover a singing bird, and, as Jasmine has just discovered, a refrigerator with fruit and ice cream inside. Jasmine points and giggles at the desserts, then runs to her own refrigerator. Her mother calls her back, and they begin peering into the tiny window.
Twice a week, Samsidah visits Jasmine and her family as part of the national Parent-Child Home Program. This program, a new initiative for Neighborhood House funded by the Business Partnership for Early Learning, aims to show parents how to use books, games and puzzles to teach their toddlers literacy skills and help them to become school-ready. Each week, Samsidah introduces an educational toy, such as this puzzle, to the family, and together they practice the associated activities that will help increase learning.
“What does the bird say?” prompts Samsidah.
“Guac, guac,” replies Jasmine in her native language.
Kamaria and Samsidah exchange pleased glances and congratulate Jasmine on a job well done.
Jasmine has been enrolled in the program since January and already the family has seen results, explains Samsidah. In the last six months Jasmine has strengthened her vocabulary and become a more confident speaker.
“She was a very quiet child,” Kamaria says. “And now she is much more communicative. The program is working.”