‘Project Goodnight Moon Time’ Aims to Build Vocabulary of Country’s Poorest Children by Teaching Parents How to Engage Them in Positive, Open-Ended Conversations
DENVER, June 25, 2014 — Los Angeles Universal Preschool (LAUP) announced its Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment to Action as part of the fourth annual CGI America meeting hosted by President Bill Clinton, Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Clinton Foundation Vice Chair Chelsea Clinton,June 23-25 in Denver Colorado.
LAUP’s CGI Commitment to Action is called Project Goodnight Moon Time: Closing the Word Gap and addresses the ever-widening opportunity and education gap that exists in the U.S. by attempting to improve early literacy skills of low-income children. Researchers say that by the time children from poor families reach the age of 3, they are already far behind in literacy skills, an obstacle that keeps them from competing academically with their better-off peers. This gap has been widely referred to as the 30-million word gap, the number of fewer words children of poorer families have been exposed to as compared to children from high-income families—even before they reach kindergarten.
At CGI America on Tuesday, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced commitments to early childhood development and education, the focus of her Too Small to Fail initiative. She spoke about the 30-million word gap and her commitment to helping low-income families expose their children to more words through literacy and song.
Goodnight Moon Time hails from Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam, who refers to the additional time that parents in higher-income homes spend with their children engaged in literacy-building routines before bed as “Goodnight Moon time,” based on the classic children’s book.
To encourage lower-income families to increase the number of words their children hear and, eventually, use, LAUP and its partners will create, produce and distribute vocabulary-building Q-cards that display open-ended questions (e.g. Why do you think…happened? What changes would you make to…?) that parents can use with their children while reading a book or discussing an activity or event. The Q-cards will also feature positive affirmations that parents can use to build children’s confidence (I see you are working hard. You are full of good ideas.) The Q-cards will be paired with books and other materials from partners such as Lakeshore, First Book and WIC to eventually reach at least 1 million parents and caregivers, exposing our nation’s at-risk children to more words and vocabulary-building techniques, and boosting their self-confidence in learning and achieving!
“Just giving families children’s books does not solve the problem,” LAUP’s CEO Celia C. Ayala, Ph.D., says. “That is why we will equip parents and caregivers with tools to teach them how to further engage their children. In a how-to video, we will use experts to model for them how to use ‘Goodnight Moon time’ to boost their children’s vocabulary arsenal and confidence.”
LAUP has raised the level of quality preschool programs throughout Los Angeles County by advancing teacher training, enriching curricula and creating a safe and nurturing environment for more than 95,000 children since its inception. LAUP is funded in part by First 5 LA. www.laup.net.
About the Clinton Global Initiative America
The Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI America), a program of the Clinton Global Initiative, addresses economic recovery in the United States. Established in June 2011 by President Bill Clinton, 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 over 300 commitments valued at more than $15 billion when fully funded and implemented. To learn more, visit cgiamerica.org.
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders year-round and at its Annual Meeting to create and implement solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. CGI also convenes CGI University, which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their communities and around the world. To date, members of the CGI community have made more than 2,800 Commitments to Action, which are already improving the lives of more than 430 million people in over 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued at $103 billion. For more information, visit clintonglobalinitiative.org and follow us on Twitter @ClintonGlobal and Facebook at facebook.com/clintonglobalinitiative.
SOURCE Los Angeles Universal Preschool