Parents and caregivers of 6-12 month old children will understand the impact they can have as their child’s first “teacher” by being actively engaged in stimulating their child’s early literacy skills.
The Baby Connections program is delivered through program partners at more than 25 sites across Waterloo Region. Approximately 1,000 kits are delivered to families through the program each year.
Families participating in the program have said:
- “My daughter is more interested in reading now (than) before we attended this program. I’m really thankful for this program.”
- “Awesome program! Learned so much. Loved the emphasis on attachment being connected to early literacy.”
- “I liked the parent information and how the program was structured with time for baby to explore the books.”
- “[Baby] seemed more interested in me reading to him than I thought. The more I did it, the more responsive he was to it.”
- “It’s more than books and reading. Singing, talking and playing are easy things I can do to help my baby learn.”
Anticipated short term impacts include:
- Increase in baby literacy knowledge, attitudes, and supportive behaviour
- Increased confidence participating in everyday literacy activities
- Increased exposure to books, songs, activities and quality time at a critical time in a baby’s development
- Demonstration of various early literacy behaviours
- Trained staff who access a professional network of support
- Quality resources to use with families
Anticipated long term impacts include:
- Consistently support child’s developing literacy skills
- Stronger literacy foundation and better situated for literacy success
- Children and families are more prepared for the transition to school
- Strong early language and literacy skills can lead to strong literacy skills, which can eventually lead to higher education, increased income, increased community engagement, decreased poverty, decreased involvement with the justice system, and an increased standard of living
Baby Connections has recently implemented a new evaluation tool for participants. We look forward to the results.
A donation of funds will provide Baby Connections kits to even more families and provide support for their baby’s health development. A $200 donation provides Baby Connections kits and support for five families in Waterloo Region. Each kit contains:
- Several quality, age-appropriate books
- A download code for a children’s CD
- An interactive resource such as a ball or puppet
- User-friendly print resources
- A bright green re-usable cloth bag
The greatest opportunity for impact is to provide additional funding for Baby Connections kits so that even more families can learn about supporting their child’s development. Waterloo Region has more than 6,000 births a year, but Baby Connections is currently able to provide only 1,000 kits per year. Staffing and program support are provided in-kind by KidsAbility, Strong Start Charitable Organization, and the YMCA of Kitchener-Waterloo.