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Play Smart Literacy

Listing Last Update: May 2, 2019

Location

Mailing Address 9901 S Western Ave
Suite 100
Chicago, IL 60655
www.playsmartliteracy.org

Primary Contact

Michelle Dinneen-White

(773) 203-5899

michelle@playsmartliteracy.org

Educational services

  • Reading and writing
  • Find a family literacy program
  • To help my child learn
  • How to use Computers/Technology
  • Volunteer at a Program

Instruction Type

  • Computer
  • Family literacy program

File uploads

Program Overview

Play Smart Literacy's two-generation program model is based on the belief that every parent has the ability to improve their child's future. Our mission to build language and relationships through play is guided by the conviction that positivity, play and talk are a recipe for forging strong adult-child relationships that move development forward.

Programming aims to build social capital and targets families with children from birth to age 5 living in underserved Chicago communities. Play Smart literacy works to empower adults by offering access to high-quality early learning experiences, increasing knowledge about the positive impacts of play and adult-child conversations on early development, and supporting adults in cultivating skills and forming habits that create positive environments rich with opportunities for talk and play. Play Smart programming helps build a toolbox of practical, science-based strategies so that families can ensure their children enter kindergarten ready to achieve.

Program components include: in-person Play-visits held weekly at neighborhood locations, goals for Play Dates at Home (10-minutes of focused play) followed by the completion of a Play Date at Home Form – a quick online survey that shares the experience and provides information to help identify strengths and challenges that allow PSL staff to better support families in building strong language environments for their children, Tech Components offer free digital resources that encourage and support positive adult-child interactions, and in-person Mini-meetings short (5 – 10-minute) meetings held after each Play-visit (or at the request of families) to provide additional support for implementing talk and play methods.

Mission Statement

Mission

Building language and relationships through play.

The belief that every parent has the ability to improve their child's future fuels our mission to strengthen families. Play Smart Literacy empowers parents and caregivers by bringing awareness to the connection between talk, play and child development. With an understanding of these powerful connections, we work to support abilities and build the skills needed to recognize, create and engage in opportunities for playful adult-child conversations every day.

Play Smart Literacy focuses on families and young children (birth - age 5) living in Chicago's underserved communities. We strive to empower adults to ensure that children enter kindergarten ready to achieve. To do this, Play Smart increases knowledge about the positive impacts of play and adult-child conversations on early childhood development. Knowledge alone is not enough. That's why Play Smart also supports adults in developing skills and forming habits that create positive environments rich with opportunities for talk and play.

Vision


Through strong, positive adult-child experiences, every child will be emotionally and cognitively prepared to succeed in kindergarten and in life.

Play Smart Literacy envisions a world where families and early care-providers understand the connection between talk, play and healthy child development and see themselves as important teachers for their children, where positivity is viewed as a powerful tool for approaching both life and learning. Play Smart envisions a world where the significant adults in children's lives are able to see and act on the opportunities for learning present in everyday life.

We believe positivity, play and talk are a recipe for forging strong adult-child relationships that move development forward. Play Smart Literacy envisions a world where socio-economic status does not limit a child's chances to succeed and every child enters kindergarten emotionally and academically prepared to excel.

Hours of operation: We are mobile 8-2, support from home all week

Cost info: We do not charge for our services. We register families for free and visit Head Starts, daycares, libraries, family shelters and centers in vulnerable areas to bring our mobile #talkandplay activities. All families and early childcare educators who are registered also receive ongoing support through text, technology help, home access to links and e-books that match our weekly play themes, Ready Rosie videos, and other play prompts and props that support guided play at home!

Student and Volunteer Success Stories

PSL works with Maggie Drummond Head Start to enhance family engagement. Laurie became involved with PSL through her work there, as a Classroom Aide. In addition to her work with preschoolers, Laurie spends time with her toddler-grandson, Damario. Since December she has used Play Dates at Home regularly to engage in and share experiences with Darmario. Laurie also began using talk and play strategies in her classroom.

With this program component, Laurie has become more engaged with her grandson and her students. Because sharing information is part of the process, PSL staff was able to see Laurie's progression – to recognize, acknowledge and support her growth as both dedicated grandparent and childcare professional.

One week, Laurie shared videos of her talk and play with a small group of students; the play theme was letter T. Together, Laurie and the children made turkey pinwheel snacks and she prompted talk about the letter T for turkey. Using talk and play techniques and sharing her experiences, Laurie encouraged families from her classroom to do the same. Laurie's use of talk and play inspires others and illustrates one way that PSL empowers adults to create positive environments rich with opportunities for talk and play.

Program’s Demographics/Metrics

Our program services over 200 families from underserved areas on Chicago's southside. Almost a third of our families speak Spanish as their home language. About 70% of our families are African-American. The majority of our families live in public housing, attend a Head Start program, or have been identified as living in poverty.

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Program Status:
Active