Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges Joins Frog and Toad for Second Phase of “Talking is Teaching” Early Literacy & Arts Campaign
Phase 2 of campaign seeks to boost language skills and brain development of young children
June 8, 2017 (MINNEAPOLIS) — This week Mayor Betsy Hodges kicks off the next phase of “Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing”—a campaign to boost early brain development and language skills in Minneapolis children. Helping her out are two amphibians: Frog and Toad, the stars of Children’s Theatre Company’s “A Year with Frog and Toad.” Families from Minneapolis childcare and preschool programs will join the mayor Thursday evening for a party and a free performance of the Tony-nominated stage production.
The City of Minneapolis and Children’s Theatre Company join Too Small to Fail, a joint initiative of The Opportunity Institute and the Clinton Foundation, as part of this effort to highlight the importance of the arts in child development. “Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing” is a community-wide effort to motivate parents and caregivers to talk, read, and sing more with young children, starting at birth. Research shows that simple, everyday interactions with young children—such as describing objects seen during a walk or bus ride, singing songs, or telling stories—can build their vocabularies, prepare them for school, and lay a strong foundation for lifelong learning.
"We are excited to partner with Children’s Theatre Company to support children and families and highlight the critical role the arts play in shaping children’s creative and critical thinking and social-emotional development,” said Mayor Hodges. “Minneapolis has always been a city of the arts, and this new phase of the campaign encourages parents families to engage with the arts—and each other—in creative ways.”
"We are delighted to host the kick-off event and establish the arts in the local Minneapolis Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing initiative,” said Kimberly Motes, Managing Director of Children’s Theatre Company. “As the nation's and the city’s leading theatre dedicated to young people and their communities, we have a deep commitment to creating experiences for early learners that unleash the power of curiosity, empathy and imagination through programming on our stages, in schools, and in the community.”
"We are thrilled to expand our partnership with the City of Minneapolis and Mayor Hodges to include an arts focus,” said Kara Dukakis, Director of Too Small to Fail at The Opportunity Institute. “Research shows that the arts play an important role in children’s early development, and can provide endless opportunities for parents and children to talk, read and sing together in fun and meaningful ways, too.”
Minneapolis is one of 12 local “Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing” campaigns around the country, including Los Angeles, Oakland, Tulsa, Miami, and Syracuse. Communities leverage the evidence-based and creative materials developed by experts at Too Small to Fail to reach parents on the critical importance of the early years.
About Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing
The Minneapolis Talking is Teaching campaign is a partnership collaboration between the City of Minneapolis and many trusted partners, including early childhood centers and family serving organizations reaching children and families across the city, such as:
● Reach Out and Read Minnesota, which works with pediatricians and clinics to promote early literacy in clinic settings.
● Way to Grow, which provides home- and center-based early childhood education as well as family support and education in North Minneapolis.
● Hennepin County Library, which connects families and children across the city to early literacy activities based around talking, singing, reading, writing, and playing.
Families and educators from across the city, including from La Creche Early Childhood Centers, Inc., Parents in Community Action, Inc. Head Start, and Shiloh Temple International Ministries attended the event. Lakeshore Learning Materials, a new corporate sponsor of the Talking is Teaching campaign, also provided educational resources for families and educators and provided financial support for the event.
These partnerships will support parents and provide them with the tools and resources they need to boost the early brain development of their babies and very young children. Some partners are distributing Talking is Teaching materials directly to families, encouraging parents to talk, read, and sing with their children. Other partners have made active commitments to support young children and parents by donating books, holding employee book drives, hosting parent engagement sessions, and helping to share information through social media.
Find out more: https://www.facebook.com/MplsTalkingisTeaching/. For more information about the national campaign, including parent-friendly resources, tips, and activities, visit www.talkingisteaching.org.
About Children’s Theatre Company
Children’s Theatre Company (CTC) is the nation’s largest and most acclaimed theatre for multigenerational audiences. It creates theatre experiences that educate, challenge, and inspire for nearly 300,000 people annually. CTC is the only theatre focused on young audiences to win the coveted Tony Award® for Outstanding Regional Theatre and is the only theatre in Minnesota to receive three Tony® nominations (for its production of A Year with Frog and Toad). CTC is committed to producing world class productions at the highest level and to developing new works, more than 200 to date, dramatically changing the canon of work for young audiences.
CTC’s engagement and learning programs annually serve more than 85,000 students ages 2-18 through Theatre Arts Training, student matinees, Bridges, and early childhood arts education programs that bring students to the theatre and bring teaching artists into the classroom. The ACT One program is CTC’s comprehensive platform for access, diversity, and inclusion in our audiences, programs, staff, and board that strives to ensure the theatre is a home for all people, all families, reflective of our community.
Learn more at www.childrenstheatre.org.
About Too Small to Fail
Too Small to Fail, a joint initiative of the Clinton Foundation and The Opportunity Institute, is leading a public awareness and action campaign to promote the importance of early brain and language development and to empower parents with tools to talk, read, and sing with their young children from birth. Today, almost 60 percent of children in the United States start kindergarten unprepared, lagging behind their peers in critical language, math, and social-emotional skills. Through partnerships with pediatricians, hospitals, faith-based leaders, community based organizations, businesses, entertainment industry leaders, and others, Too Small to Fail is meeting parents where they are to help them prepare their children for success in school and beyond. Whether at the pediatrician's office or the playground, Too Small to Fail aims to make small moments big by creating opportunities for meaningful interactions anytime, anywhere.
Learn more at www.toosmall.org. Find resources for parents and caregivers at www.talkingisteaching.org or on Facebook (www.facebook.com/2smalltofail), Twitter (@2SmalltoFail), and Instagram (www.instagram.com/2smalltofail).
Published Jun 8, 2017