What are “do-able” ideas and activities that would support families with young children? Several months ago, CDF partnered with Refugee Family Services (RFS) to ask this question. The partners hosted a focus group with RFS’s Parents as Teachers families. “Families need more time to be with other families who have children, to play and to learn how to support their infant and toddler’s development” was one of the themes. The idea was to plan additional “play and learn” activities – where families get together with their children and learn and practice activities to foster child development, like using open ended questions to expand a child’s vocabulary.
The next step: A proposal based on the families’ ideas was written for a play and learn activity and submitted to the DeKalb Opportunity Zone, a project of United Way of Greater Atlanta. The funds were awarded, and the planning began.
Next, the parents’ formed a committee to plan the activity and to divide up responsibilities. Several parents were assigned to call and remind other parents about the activity. One of the fathers, Mon Rai, who is a champion of children learning both Nepali and English, offered to write down nursery rhymes in Nepali for the play and learn activity. RFS would supply the transportation and purchase the refreshments.
The result: Sunday, June l5: a fun day at a Milam Park gazebo, with over 20 families, elders, and children. The families gathered in a circle and sang and recited the nursery rhymes that Mon Rai had so carefully written in Nepali (and some translated into English). Parents were excited to receive a laminated and illustrated copy of the nursery rhymes.