“Babies on Track” Stimulating Child Brain Development

More than 160 premiere events are set to raise the curtain on Best Beginnings’ Babies on Track, a 14-minute DVD for parents. More than 80 villages, towns, and cities across Alaska took up the call to roll out the red carpet from February 25 through March 4.

Best Beginnings produced Babies on Track to foster early learning and healthy brain development. Parents’ interactions with babies during everyday activities help them learn language, sounds, and social skills. The DVD comes with two companion baby board books, one with Alaska objects (Let’s Talk Alaska!) and the other with Alaska baby faces (Our Alaska Family).

The set will be distributed statewide.

The premieres are an opportunity to share the importance of early learning, allow parents of young children to gather and exchange ideas, and fortify support for early learning. Parents of children under 2 who attend a Babies on Track premiere will receive a free set of the DVD and companion board books.

“Thanks to the hundreds of people who are hosting these premieres, thousands of Alaska families will be setting their babies on the right track toward success in school and success in life,” Best Beginnings Executive Director Abbe Hensley said. “The tremendous wave of enthusiasm for this project – reflected by the sheer numbers of events planned – tells us that Alaskans care about early learning, at home and in their communities.”

Premieres are planned at a wide range of venues – at Imagination Library family events, at library lapsits, and with child care providers – anywhere families of young children congregate.

Most of the premieres are open to the public. To find one in a specific community, go to BestBeginningsAlaska.org. Best Beginnings provides the materials and guidance for the events, but the hosts pick up any and all associated costs. Hosts have designed events to match their audiences and the time available, but most premieres will include showing the video, distributing the DVD and companion books, and modeling fun, brain-building activities for children.

The basic message of Babies on Track is that the more parents talk with their babies and young children – the more conversation and positive interaction that occur – the easier it is for them to pick up language when they’re ready to start talking themselves. Babies raised with more interaction have larger vocabularies, and they’re ready for kindergarten by age 5. If they’re ready for kindergarten, they’re more likely to be reading by third grade and then more likely to graduate high school.

The video introduces a simple model families can follow in their own interactions with their babies:

T = Talk
R = Respond
A = Ask questions
C = Connect
K = Keep at it
S = Sing and tell stories

The Babies on Track books were made possible by support from the Alaska Children’s Trust, The CIRI Foundation, and ConocoPhillips Alaska. The DVD was supported by contributions from the Alaska Department of Education & Early Development and Alyeska Pipeline Service Company. Both are productions of Affinityfilms, Inc.

Here is a preview of the video:

To find a premiere in your community, check out this link.

Best Beginnings is a nonprofit advocate for early learning in Alaska. It is a statewide umbrella for Imagination Library, promotes and supports local early childhood partnerships, and produces and distributes materials and information for early learning.

Best Beginnings is a public-private partnership that mobilizes people and resources to ensure all Alaska children begin school ready to succeed through support from businesses, foundations, nonprofits, government, and individuals.


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