To make sure children are prepared for school and life, parents need a variety of tools from the time they learn about their bundle of joy right through kindergarten and beyond. But parents are busy and information about how to prepare children is often hard to access, which is why United Way for Greater Austin (UWATX) Success By 6 is championing two initiatives leveraging mobile technology to educate parents as they become their child’s first teacher.
We’re partnering with Text4baby, a health literacy initiative where mothers receive weekly text messages, and Ready Rosie, a bilingual video curriculum that teaches parents how to incorporate early learning into daily activities.
To sign up for Text4baby, women text “BABY” (or “BEBE” for Spanish) to 511411 and then receive three texts per week on topics like immunization, nutrition, baby’s development and safe sleep practices. The messages are timed to the mother’s due date or their baby’s birth date and go from pregnancy until the baby’s first birthday.
Text4baby has enrolled more than 600,000 U.S moms since its February 2011 launch. Locally, UWATX has promoted Text4baby to low-income mothers at community health fairs with posters like the one on the right and included it as a resource at WIC clinics – and it worked: we increased use in Travis County by 70 percent from 2012.
Services like Text4baby are critical as low-income children under six are our fastest growing demographic. Prepared parents are a key first step in helping children get on the right path from the start.
Ready Rosie continues educating parents with children from age zero to five by featuring real parents and children modeling learning activities. By design, the activities being modeled require minimal or no set-up and take place across a wide range of common daily settings, such as in the car, at the grocery store, or at the laundromat.
“Programs like these are low-cost ways for us to reach the thousands of children in Greater Austin who are not currently involved in any early learning program.” – Sue Carpenter
“The videos are built on the latest evidence-based components for literacy and math learning – AND they take place in real-life environments,” said Sue Carpenter, Sr. Director of Success By 6. “Programs like these are low-cost ways for us to reach the thousands of children in Greater Austin who are not currently involved in any early learning program.”
We are working to provide the Ready Rosie curriculum to partners in our Success By 6 Center Project and other key stakeholders to maximize the reach of these valuable materials.
By investing in innovative tools like Text4baby and Ready Rosie, UWATX is laying the foundations for a greater Austin right in the palm of parents’ hands!