Providence Talks & Providence Community Library Partner to Launch Play Group Program

Groups Use Innovative Method to Boost Vocabularies of Toddlers in a Library Setting
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PROVIDENCE RI –Providence Talks and Providence Community Library (PCL) have
partnered to present playgroups at three PCL locations: Mount Pleasant,
Rochambeau and South Providence. The play groups are designed for parents
with children aged 12-36 months who live in Providence. The play groups
take Providence Talks’ groundbreaking teaching model and adapt it to a
public, community setting. The goal is to encourage families to talk and
read more to babies and toddlers and increase their exposure to words.
Low-income children are often subject to a “word gap” so that by the time
they reach their fourth birthday, they will have heard 30 million fewer
words than their wealthier peers. It’s a problem for Providence, where only
one in three children arrive at school at the appropriate literacy
benchmark.

The play groups will meet for one hour a week for six weeks and enjoy
hands-on creative activities, books and snacks. Each participating family
will be issued with a «word pedometer» and coached on how to use it in
their daily lives. The «pedometer» will count the number of words and
conversational interactions experienced daily by the child. Recordings will
be made one day per week for the duration of the program and families will
receive a free book to take home and keep in exchange for a weekly report
from the counting device. The playgroups will be co-facilitated by PCL
children’s librarians and trained staff from Providence Talks’ partner
agencies Family Service of RI, Meeting Street and Children’s Friend.

«The play groups will follow a curriculum and provide us with an
opportunity to show participants just how much PCL has to offer young
families» said Youth Services Coordinator, Cheryl Space. «We’ll encourage
families to get involved with their local library, borrow books, and, as
the baby gets older, transition to other PCL early childhood programs such
as Cradle to Crayons and Ready for K,» she added. PCL plans more Providence
Talks playgroups at other locations and parents are encouraged to talk to
their local librarians if they are interested.

Play groups are Thursdays, 11:30A.M. – 12:30P.M., beginning October 27 at
South Providence Library (401-467-2619) and Mondays, 1:30P.M.-2:30P.M.,
beginning November 7 at Rochambeau Library (401-272-3780 X 1906). The play
group at Mount Pleasant will begin in mid-November: please call for details
(401-272-0106). Registration for play groups is required.

For more information about play groups and all PCL programs, visit
www.provcomlib.org. For more information about Providence Talks, visit
www.providencetalks.org.