Discover Together Brownsville is the catch-all term for projects that will transform the places and spaces where children live, learn and grow. Each interlinked project has been collaboratively designed to align services around the strengths and experiences of local families. And each project is one step towards building a neighborhood that seamlessly supports children’s language and social-emotional development.
The Family Co-Op is a two-generational program for infants/toddlers and their caregivers that brings free, fun, and educationally-enriching weekend programming to underutilized spaces.
It is inspired by work piloted by Scholastic Education, the Yale Child Study Center, and the community of Grundy County, TN. The Family Co-Op is designed to build skills, reduce the isolation reported by many parents of young children, and counteract negative narratives by starting with the question “What would you like to celebrate about Brownsville?”
Starting in September 2019, parents/caregivers will bring children on Saturdays to two-hour sessions at the Morris Koppelman Center, the Greg Jackson Center, and Riverdale Avenue Community School under the guidance of a lead teacher, teaching assistants, and family ambassadors. Each site will host up to 15 children aged 0-3 and their caregivers.
Books for Brownsville
Books for Brownsville is a service-provider training initiative inspired by the practices of Reach Out and Read and other early childhood literacy initiatives.
Service providers who participate in the trainings will put the methods developed by Books for Brownsville into practice along with books, literacy materials, and other resources, to be distributed to the families they serve. Participating providers will also have access to mini-grants for supplies and materials that will transform their work spaces into family-friendly learning opportunities.
The research roundtables of families and professionals that will kick off the training development process will form the basis for a community of practice that will continue beyond the initial planning stages. Books for Brownsville will identify appropriate leaders, conveners, and partners to lead the Books for Brownsville community of practice via regular coordination meetings, thereby institutionalizing opportunities to enhance connectivity and strengthen relationships between and among local residents and providers.
Inspired by the “Talking is Teaching” campaign of the Clinton Foundation’s Too Small to Fail initiative, UB will create tool kits that transform everyday places frequented by families from idle spaces into learning and bonding opportunities.
To launch this project, we will launch at two grocery stores in Brownsville in 2019 and look to expand in the near future to additional sites.
Beyond 2019, UB will scale up this project to permanently transform larger structures such as bus stops into engaging, skill-building learning environments.
The long term vision is that the neighborhood itself becomes a landscape for learning.