During a child’s earliest years, their interactions with parents and caregivers provide the foundation for their brain development. Part of our mission in Best Starts for Kids is to make the latest research in early learning science and brain development available and accessible to all parents and caregivers in our communities. That’s why we’re integrating Vroom throughout our prenatal to age 5 strategies, from home-visiting to developmental screening. Vroom is a nationally recognized tool that turns brain building science into simple, easy to use tips that parents and caregivers can incorporate into their everyday lives. We’re thrilled to announce new partnerships to make this science-based tool more accessible for our Somali and Spanish speaking communities.
We’re partnering with the Somali Health Board and Centro Rendu of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul to host listening sessions, focus groups, and other opportunities to hear from parents, caregivers, and community members about the best way to culturally adapt Vroom tips. In addition to language adaptation, partners will provide recommendations to culturally translate Vroom tools, such as changing visuals to better represent these communities, or adapting music-based tips to reflect the instruments used in that culture. Each organization will receive $75,000 over one year in combined funds from Best Starts for Kids and the Bezos Family Foundation.
“This funding will equip the Somali Health Board and its partner, Living Well Kent, to leverage their strengths as Somali-led organizations to develop a culturally and linguistically-responsive program that meets the needs of our community,” said Ahmed A Ali, the Executive Director of the Somali Health Board. “Vroom will complement our work in other areas such as home childcare consultations and services for parents. This project is a natural complement to the work the Somali Health Board and Living Well Kent are already doing and will ultimately benefit the lives and health of Somali children as they grow into adolescents and adults in King County.”
Maximizing brain building moments
Parents and caregivers who sign up for Vroom can receive personalized brain building tips each day via the Vroom smart phone app, and weekly by text message or the web-based Vroom tool. Vroom tips empower parents to maximize the impact they can have in the moments they share every day with their children.
For example, one Vroom tip shows how singing a song to narrate chores can help children make new brain connections. “As you clean, sing a song with your child about what you’re doing. ‘I am dusting the chair’ or ‘I am picking up toys that fill you with joy.’ You can use silly voices, rhymes, or singing to the tune of a favorite song.” reads the tip. “A song about what you’re doing will catch your child’s attention and they will make connections between sounds, sight, and meaning.”
These tips are most effective when they resonate with parents’ cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Over the next year, Best Starts for Kids partners will work with parents, caregivers, and community members to ensure that these tips are culturally reflective and resonate with parents.
“By partnering with VROOM, Centro Rendu will develop further culturally responsive approaches to support early childhood development along with authentic family engagement practices,” said Mirya Munoz, Assistant Director of St. Vincent de Paul of Seattle & King County. “This new funding from Best Starts for Kids offers St. Vincent de Paul the opportunity to further support our Latinx families and have great, lasting impact in our community. We are very excited and grateful for this opportunity!”