By Ashia Aubrey
An eager father holds his baby son in his arms while watching his oldest climb up and down the red jungle gym at the park.
“Look at brother,” the dad says while gripping the youngest tight. The baby is also reaching for the bar handles on the playground set, concentrating on what is in front of him. “You can do it too, buddy,” he says, holding the little one and encouraging him to mimic his older brother.
This simple play experience is an example of the “grasp and grab” concept on the parent curriculum site, ReadyRosie. It showcases the importance of hand-eye coordination for babies, which later in life is essential for play and skills like getting dressed, picking up toys, and self-feeding.
ReadyRosie is a national family resource available in Nebraska;
more than 3,000 students in the state are participating.
ReadyRosie is a national family engagement resource available in Nebraska to serve children from birth through elementary school. It includes a video library of over 1,000 “Modeled Moment” demonstration videos that are age-based. Educators can look through the videos to target different skills according to the needs of their students. Parents are also included in this process and can work with their children through interactive workshops, professional development activities, and family engagement pieces offered on the ReadyRosie website.
ReadyRosie is funded by a federal Preschool Development Grant and was initially implemented by the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation (NCFF). The Buffett Early Childhood Fund invested in ReadyRosie, making it available to 21 sites and eight community groups across Nebraska. The program is also being introduced in over 300 classrooms, and more than 3,000 students in Nebraska are participating in Ready Rosie. With 2020 Preschool Development Grant funding, ReadyRosie was added to 100 more classrooms in the state during the fall of 2021, and since then, the program continues to serve even more Nebraska families. State educational programs like Sixpence and Educare are now using ReadyRose as well.
The Modeled Moment videos are offered in English and Spanish. The videos are usually a few minutes long and are designed to be relatable and easily understood. For example, one ReadyRosie video features a family who is getting lunch. As they wait for their food, the parents teach their kids math skills by using sugar packets in the food establishment to measure the width of a table as the children count each packet.
“[These] are videos that are everyday people and everyday settings. So, if a parent were to watch it, it’s something they can do very easily at home, or in the grocery store, or at the park, in their front yard, in their backyard,” said Shonna Werth, an assistant vice president of early childhood programs at NCFF who provides program oversight for ReadyRosie.
The Nebraska Children and Families Foundation organizes teacher and administrator training that goes over the basic steps of ReadyRosie. These learning sessions are also offered virtually and expand to more advanced-level informational sessions on how a child's developmental milestones can be assessed to build upon the child’s needs. Attendees can also get tips on how educators can connect with parents on an area of focus that may be needed for their child.
To assess the progress of ReadyRosie in Nebraska, a team of evaluators from the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Munroe-Meyer Institute (MMI) and the University of Nebraska–Lincoln's Department of Child, Youth, and Family Studies collected statewide data. The information evaluated how ReadyRosie is used across communities and the participation rate with local child care providers. From 2021-2022, 95 percent of providers surveyed believed the program was useful to children and families.
Seeing how ReadyRosie videos match up with state standards and fundamental child development milestones is critical to aligning the partnership and family engagement piece. For example, Nebraska’s care and education assessment system, Step Up to Quality is one way to evaluate how ReadyRosie meets the expectations for Step Up to Quality.
Werth said educators and families can work together to decide any additional help children need and how to work on those skills in different settings like home and school.
Ashia Aubrey is a Preschool Development Grant communications specialist at the Buffett Early Childhood Institute at the University of Nebraska. Previously, she was the associate director of communications at an Omaha nonprofit and served as a reporter and television news anchor in Nebraska, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.
Have a question, comment, or a story idea? Reach Ashia at email@example.com