June 9, 2015
Jun 09

Too Small to Fail & Partners Announce Three New Commitments to Action at CGI America to Help Make Any Time “Talk Time” for Families and Young Children

Denver, CO
Press Release

Commitments will raise awareness of the importance of talking, reading, and singing with children from birth to reach families in laundromats, playgrounds nationwide

Denver, CO—Today, at the fifth Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) America Meeting, Too Small to Fail announced three new Commitments to Action to use local community settings to help raise awareness of the importance of talking, reading, and singing to young children. These actions can help improve early language and brain development, and ensure every child is given the best possible chance to succeed in school and compete in the 21st century global economy.

The following new CGI America commitments will impact children, families, and communities in Tulsa, Oakland, Northwest Arkansas, and nationwide:

  • Wash Time is Talk Time: Early Literacy Promotion in Laundromats
    Commitment By: Coin Laundry Association (CLA), Laundry Project, Jumpstart, First 5 Alameda County, University of Arkansas College of Education & Health Professions, Encore.org 
    In 2015, Too Small to Fail, the Coin Laundry Association (CLA) and their partners commit to engage parents through approximately 5,000 laundromats in underserved communities by providing them with information and tools to support their children’s early brain and language development. Too Small to Fail will create a “Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing” toolkit with engaging resources to help families turn laundry time into meaningful opportunities to talk, read and sing with their children. The CLA, through its charitable foundation, LaundryCares, will distribute and promote awareness about the kit among their 2,000 members and various cross-platform communication channels, including the Planet Laundry magazine which reaches around 15,000 laundromats serving an estimated 7.5 million families weekly with a median household income of less than $30k. Nearly 500 volunteers from Current Initiative’s Laundry Project will distribute these resources to families during its “free laundry day” events in low-income communities across the country. Jumpstart will train Laundry Project and Encore.org volunteers to engage families in early learning and literacy activities. With the support of these volunteers, Jumpstart and First 5 Alameda County will host monthly story times and distribute “Talking is Teaching” messages and materials to families in laundromats. Events will begin on October 22, 2015 where F5AC and Laundry Project volunteers will kick off Jumpstart’s annual Read for the Record® campaign in laundromats in Oakland, CA and distribute free children’s books donated by Jumpstart. Jumpstart also commits to distribute “Talking is Teaching” materials to families through its 4,000 national volunteers. The University of Arkansas College of Education and Health Professions will distribute “Talking is Teaching” resources in Northwest Arkansas laundromats and hold monthly story time events with families. They will also conduct a pilot evaluation of the “Talking is Teaching” resources to determine any shifts in attitudes, knowledge, and behavior related to children’s early language development.
  • Play Time is Talk Time: Early Literacy in Playgrounds
    Commitment By: Shane’s Inspiration and Landscape Structures
    In 2015, Shane’s Inspiration and Landscape Structures Inc. committed to partnering with Too Small to Fail to develop 20 new playgrounds that incorporate “Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing” conversation prompts across the country by June 2017. Specifically, the partners will support families in resource poor communities by integrating “Talking is Teaching” creative materials on panels and signage on display in playground settings, featuring both English and Spanish language. These visuals will be designed to boost children’s early brain and language development by prompting fun and enjoyable conversations, stories and songs while parents and children play together. In addition to these 20 playgrounds, Shane’s Inspiration and Landscape Structures will work with local parks and recreation departments, early childhood centers, civic groups and other community organizations across the country to expand the “Talking is Teaching” messages in additional future playgrounds they construct for kids ages 6 months to 5 years, with a particular emphasis on low-income communities.
  • Promoting Children’s Early Math & Language Development 
    Commitment By: Bedtime Math Foundation
    In 2015, the Bedtime Math Foundation, in partnership with Too Small to Fail (TSTF), commits to provide 1,500 Bedtime Math books in English and Spanish — donated by Macmillan Publishers — to distribute through Too Small to Fail’s local outreach campaigns in Oakland, CA and Tulsa, OK. Too Small to Fail currently works through trusted community messengers such as pediatricians to deliver information and tools encouraging parents to talk, read and sing with their children. Through this commitment, Bedtime Math books will be included to help parents and caregivers talk about math concepts and engage in early math activities with their preschool-aged children. Bedtime Math will also provide training materials to pediatricians and health staff on ways to integrate early math concepts in their messages and resources for 1,500 parents and caregivers.

For the past two years, Too Small to Fail has been working with trusted community messengers such as pediatricians, nurses, librarians, and faith-based leaders to deliver its “Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing” campaign information and tools to parents. These commitments expand Too Small to Fail’s reach among families in low-income neighborhoods across the country through new community touch points — laundromats and playgrounds — and work through a new set of messengers — community volunteers — to distribute “Talking is Teaching” materials to young children and families.

Parents, particularly those in underserved communities, face many structural barriers to engaging more with their young children. Therefore, it is critical to support parents where they are in the everyday places they go with their children. A recent study found that placing visually engaging and colorful signs throughout supermarkets with open-ended questions that adults could ask children can promote more positive and enjoyable family interactions. Researchers also found that when these types of signs were posted in grocery stores in low-income neighborhoods, children and their caregivers were nearly four times more likely to engage in vocabulary-rich “talk” compared to when signs were not posted.

The commitments specifically focus on helping parents make the most of everyday moments and routines to talk, read, and sing with their children. For instance, given that the average laundromat visit takes two to two-and-a-half hours, laundry time offers a valuable, yet often overlooked opportunity for parents and local volunteers to engage in language-rich activities like talking, reading and singing with children. In addition, reaching parents through playgrounds provides tangible opportunities to enrich their children’s play experiences with vocabulary-rich conversations, stories, and songs.

Learn more at www.toosmall.org and on Twitter @2SmalltoFail. Find research-based tips, information and resources on early language development for parents and caregivers at www.TalkingIsTeaching.org


About Too Small to Fail
Too Small to Fail, a joint initiative of the Clinton Foundation and Next Generation, aims to help parents, communities and businesses take meaningful actions to improve the health and well-being of children ages zero to five, so that more of America’s children are prepared to succeed in the 21st century.

Too Small to Fail is focusing its work on closing the “word gap.” Studies have found that by age four, children in middle and upper income families hear 30 million more words than their lower-income peers. This disparity in hearing words from parents and caregivers translates directly into a disparity in learning words. And that puts our children born with the fewest advantages even further behind. Among those born in 2001, only 48 percent of poor children started school ready to learn, compared to 75 percent of children from middle-income families.

The “word gap” is a significant but solvable challenge. Too Small to Fail is about parents, caregivers, other concerned individuals, and the private sector coming together to take small, research-based actions with big impacts.

Learn more at www.toosmall.org and on Twitter @2SmalltoFail.

Learn more at http://www.clintonfoundation.org, on Facebook at Facebook.com/ClintonFoundation and on Twitter @ClintonFdn.

About Next Generation
Next Generation promotes solutions to two of the biggest challenges confronting the next generation of Americans: The risk of dangerous climate change, and the threat of diminished prospects for children and families. Through the use of non-partisan research, policy development, and strategic communications, we identify strategies that help deploy clean, advanced energy technologies; we also work to ensure a level playing field from which today’s kids can build a brighter future.

Learn more at http://www.thenextgeneration.org, and on Twitter @nextgen_USA.

About Clinton Global Initiative America
The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of the Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders to create and implement solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. Established in June 2011 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI America) addresses economic recovery in the United States. CGI America brings together leaders in business, government, and civil society to generate and implement commitments to create jobs, stimulate economic growth, foster innovation, and support workforce development in the United States. Since its first meeting, CGI America participants have made more than 400 commitments, which have improved the lives of nearly 1.4 million people.

CGI also convenes an Annual Meeting, which brings together global leaders to take action and create positive social change, CGI University (CGI U), which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their community or around the world, and, this year, CGI will also convene CGI Middle East & Africa, which will bring together leaders across sectors to take action on pressing social, economic, and environmental challenges. For more information, visit clintonglobalinitiative.org and follow us on Twitter @ClintonGlobal and Facebook at facebook.com/clintonglobalinitiative.