Free Early Childhood Text Messaging Program Offered to Minnesota Parents

Child Care Providers Can Meet Parent Aware Requirement by Encouraging Families to Sign Up

Woodbury parent Amy Raleigh with her daughter Fiona.

When Woodbury parent Amy Raleigh heads to the store with her 4-year old daughter Fiona, she has a grocery list in one hand and her mobile phone in the other.  A busy mom who is constantly on the go, Raleigh uses text messages sent by Think Small ParentPowered Texts to turn ordinary situations into early learning experiences.

“These texts are helpful reminders to use everyday activities as learning opportunities with my daughter,” said Raleigh.  “They do a great job of not only giving me ideas, but also explaining how these activities are helping Fiona get ready for kindergarten.”

Think Small ParentPowered Texts is a FREE program that provides families with fun facts and easy tips to help build a child’s school readiness skills.  Parents who sign-up will receive text messages developed by researchers offering suggestions on ways to promote their child’s social-emotional learning, increase motor and language skills, and improve overall health development. 


Participants will get three text messages each week covering different areas of child’s development.  These FACT, TIP, and GROWTH messages build on activities that families are already doing together, like getting ready in the morning, shopping, eating meals, or taking a walk to the park.

“There is a strong link between a child’s early experiences and their development of motor, social-emotional, literacy and math skills,” said Barbara Yates, President and CEO of Think Small.  “Think Small ParentPowered Texts breaks down the complexity of engaged parenting into small steps that are easy to achieve.”

Built on studies out of Stanford University, researchers found that the ParentPowered text approach increased family involvement at home and school, ultimately leading to child learning gains (York & Loeb, 2014).  And because 90% of brain development occurs in those crucial first five years, it’s never too early to start!  The text messages are designed for parents of newborns through age 5, and are based on a child’s birthdate, ensuring all messages are developmentally appropriate.

“The text messages help me stay involved with Fiona’s early learning on a daily basis,” said Raleigh.  “They remind me to ask her questions, to get her talking, or to point out things to her that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.”

Starting July 1, 2017, childcare providers who are pursuing a Star Rating can meet the requirements for the new Parent Aware category of Relationships with Families (Family Involvement R1.3a.) by getting parents in their programs to sign-up for Think Small ParentPowered Texts.  A group sign-up sheets is available for providers to use. Individuals can text TS to 70138 (English) or TS ESP to 70138 (Spanish) to sign-up.  To get more information, read the terms and conditions, or sign up online, visit www.thinksmall.org/texts.

 

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