Update: Brain Bags growing in the community

  • April 28, 2017
  • /   Shannon Nickinson
  • /   early-learning

What's in a Brain Bag?

Of course we at Studer Community Institute are proud that the IMPACT Brain Bags are now making their way into the hands of new moms in the Pensacola metro area.

The generous support of the women of IMPACT 100 Pensacola Bay Area means that the estimated 5,000 women who give birth this year in Escambia County will leave the hospital with the tools in hand to help them become the architects of their children's brains.

And most importantly, they will have had a one-on-one lesson, before they even leave the hospital, in the power that their words and interaction have to build a brain and build a life.

Having spent time at all three of the birthing hospitals in Escambia County in recent days, I can tell you that the excitement the Brain Bags generates is just part of the buzz needed to create an Early Learning City in Pensacola.

I've done some of the Brain Bag teaching myself, talking with moms and dads — and even some older brothers — about how important it is to talk with a newborn. It has been wonderful to see the light go on in a parent's face once they learn that just by talking, they have a deep, meaningful influence on their child's mind.

Talk about being the bulb indeed.

As exciting as giving the Brain Bags out has been meeting with people in the community who will help make the lessons on the power of parent talk and interaction live on.

We've met with community partners including Community Action Program, Escambia Community Clinics, Healthy Start Coalition, Children's Home Society, Families First Network, Easy Steps, ARC Gateway, Community Drug and Alcohol Council and more to enlist their help.

These folks all work in different spots in the continuum of care for children ages birth to 5. In one way or another, they care for children in this age range. And they meet with, coach and support parents of those young children.

They, too, know the importance of talking and interacting with child. Some of them see the direct effect of what happens to children who don't get those words of encouragement, love and development.

Or worse.

But they see the value in investing early on in the development of a child. They know the good it can do. And they know that often, investing in a young child means investing in a parent.

The next phase of our work is find ways that the Brain Bag curriculum can support what these good folks do every day, to help them help adults do right by the children in their lives.

All of these folks get it. They understand the importance of reaching every child. They know what the stakes are.

And they are all open to helping be the change they want to see in their community. That's indeed a light worth shining. And sharing.