Mayor Betsy Hodges Joins Preschoolers for a Morning of Fun at Children’s Theatre Company

Talking is Teaching initiative uses art to encourage talking, reading, and singing with young children

October 10, 2017 (MINNEAPOLIS) — Mayor Betsy Hodges spent part of Tuesday morning with preschoolers, teachers, and parents at Children’s Theatre Company as part of “Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing”—a campaign to boost early brain development and language skills in Minneapolis children. Launched in 2016, the second phase of Talking is Teaching is focused on incorporating the arts in early child development through talking, reading, and singing with young children.

Preschoolers from child care centers across the city, including Joyce Preschool and Way to Grow, enjoyed a performance of the play Balloonacy followed by a fun activity led by Children Theatre Company teaching artists. While the children were engaging with the teaching artists, teachers and parents sat down with Mayor Hodges to talk about the performance and the vital role of caregivers on young children’s brain development.

The City of Minneapolis and Children’s Theatre Company join Too Small to Fail, a joint initiative of The Opportunity Institute and the Clinton Foundation, as part of this effort to highlight the importance of the arts in child development. “Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing” is a community-wide effort to motivate parents and caregivers to talk, read, and sing more with young children, starting at birth. Research shows that simple, everyday interactions with young children—such as describing objects seen during a walk or bus ride, singing songs, or telling stories—can build their vocabularies, prepare them for school, and lay a strong foundation for lifelong learning.

“It is a joy to share the Talking is Teaching message with caregivers across the city,” said Mayor Hodges, “And being able to sit down with parents and teachers this morning was a great privilege. I am grateful for our partnership with Children’s Theatre Company and Too Small to Fail and look forward to continuing to promote talking, reading, and singing with young children across Minneapolis.”

"We are excited to continue our partnership with Mayor Hodges' Talking is Teaching initiative,” said Peter Brosius, Artistic Director of Children’s Theatre Company. “As the nation's and the city’s leading theatre dedicated to young people and their communities, we have a deep commitment to creating experiences for early learners that unleash the power of curiosity, empathy and imagination through programming on our stages, in schools, and in the community.”

About Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing

The Minneapolis Talking is Teaching campaign is a collaboration between the City of Minneapolis and many trusted partners, including early childhood centers and family serving organizations reaching children and families across the city.

These partnerships support parents and caregivers, providing tools and resources they need to boost the early brain development of their babies and very young children. Partners are distributing Talking is Teaching materials directly to families, encouraging parents to talk, read, and sing with their children. Other activities include the creation of active commitments to support young children and parents by donating books, holding employee book drives, hosting parent engagement sessions, and helping to share information through social media.

Minneapolis is one of 12 local “Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing” campaigns around the country, including Los Angeles, Oakland, Tulsa, Miami, and Syracuse. Communities leverage the evidence-based and creative materials developed by experts at Too Small to Fail to reach parents on the critical importance of the early years.
Find out more:  https://www.facebook.com/MplsTalkingisTeaching/. For more information about the national campaign, including parent-friendly resources, tips, and activities, visit http://talkingisteaching.org/.  

About Children’s Theatre Company

Children’s Theatre Company (CTC) is the nation’s largest and most acclaimed theatre for multigenerational audiences. It creates theatre experiences that educate, challenge, and inspire for nearly 300,000 people annually. CTC is the only theatre focused on young audiences to win the coveted Tony Award® for Outstanding Regional Theatre and is the only theatre in Minnesota to receive three Tony® nominations (for its production of A Year with Frog and Toad). CTC is committed to producing world class productions at the highest level and to developing new works, more than 200 to date, dramatically changing the canon of work for young audiences.          
                                             
CTC’s engagement and learning programs annually serve more than 85,000 students ages 2-18 through Theatre Arts Training, student matinees, Bridges, and early childhood arts education programs that bring students to the theatre and bring teaching artists into the classroom. The ACT One program is CTC’s comprehensive platform for access, diversity, and inclusion in our audiences, programs, staff, and board that strives to ensure the theatre is a home for all people, all families, reflective of our community. 

Learn more at www.childrenstheatre.org.

About Too Small to Fail

Too Small to Fail, a joint initiative of the Clinton Foundation and The Opportunity Institute, is leading a public awareness and action campaign to promote the importance of early brain and language development and to empower parents with tools to talk, read, and sing with their young children from birth. Today, almost 60 percent of children in the United States start kindergarten unprepared, lagging behind their peers in critical language and reading skills. Through partnerships with pediatricians, hospitals, faith-based leaders, community based organizations, businesses, entertainment industry leaders, and others, Too Small to Fail is meeting parents where they are to help them prepare their children for success in school and beyond. Whether at the pediatrician's office or the playground, Too Small to Fail aims to make small moments big by creating opportunities for meaningful interactions anytime, anywhere.

Learn more at http://toosmall.org/. Find resources for parents and caregivers at  www.talkingisteaching.org or on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/2smalltofail), Twitter (@2SmalltoFail), and Instagram (www.instagram.com/2smalltofail).

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Published Oct 10, 2017

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