Guest post: Vroom’s accessible approach to brain-building
The following is part of a series of guest posts by leaders in the field of literacy. This guest post is by Marissa Jade Kaiser, sr. program manager for Vroom.
Research tells us that a child’s brain is wired to grow from birth. It starts off with billions of neurons, and during a child’s earliest years, their brain makes 1 million neural connections every single second. Positive, supportive experiences with adults help a child’s brain grow strong and set the foundation for future learning.
Long before children learn reading, spelling, and writing skills, they are listening, observing, and looking for clues to connect words and symbols to meaning—even before they can talk! Brain science shows us that learning in the earliest years of life happens in everyday moments shared between caring adults and children. In these moments of back-and-forth interaction, children are forming the foundations for literacy, numeracy, and behavior skills such as focus and self-control.
Vroom’s goal is to share the science of brain development in fun, new, and tangible ways, helping parents and caregivers understand that the foundation for lifelong success is created during the first five years of life.
Taking early-brain science out of the lab to empower educators, providers, parents, and caregivers, Vroom offers busy adults over 1,000 fun and easy tips to turn everyday moments into an opportunity to boost a child’s brain development. It is free, strength-based, and multi-lingual.
Available on Apple® or Android® devices and also at Vroom.org, the resource comes packed with tons of free tools and resources. The website includes downloadable tools for you to use and share. Explore Vroom tips by activity, location, or even skill-building category (examples include “Word Play” or the social-emotional skill “Practicing Patience”). Using these tips alongside children (one-on-one or in small groups) can assist them in building code-focused skills like the ability to know and manipulate the sounds within spoken words (phonological awareness), and to know the letters of the alphabet and combine the letters with the sounds they represent (alphabet knowledge).
As you explore tips, be sure to pronounce words clearly, without distortion or in “sing-song” fashion. Model the spacing between sounds when doing blending and segmenting activities. Strive to focus on the sound structure of the new words as well as their meanings.
Vroom has the capability to track the brain-building journey with each child in your care by marking favorite tips or including photos of shared moments in a visual scrapbook. After you create an account, your information will appear on whatever device you use, on or offline.
Check out Vroom and tell us what you think in the comments below!
Vroom is a nonprofit initiative of the Bezos Family Foundation, and because it isn’t monetized, you can be assured that all your data stays private and the platform is always ad-free. Kids associate Vroom with quality time with their caregiver, and we want children, parents and you to all enjoy using Vroom together!
Marissa Jade Kaiser is the sr. program manager of Vroom. To learn more about Vroom, visit www.vroom.org.
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