How many times as a parent have you said, “I wish my kids came with a manual.” Well, four moms, who are also educators, believe they’ve come up with one for a child’s brain development.
It’s called Simply Smart Kids, and Stacey Sharpe Mollison is the president and co-founder. She and three colleagues in the Farmington School District developed the system to help kids get off to a better start in school.
The Great Disparity
“You have kids who are really strong, language, vocabulary and you have kids who aren’t and you have this gap,” Mollison says. “Well that gap doesn’t close and that gap over time just exponentially grows and gets bigger and bigger.”
The women point to research that shows kids who have heard the most words spoken to them by the time they’re three, do better in school later in life. And it’s not all different words, but the total number of words spoken to the child. Simply Smart Kids co-founder & speech pathologist Susan Coon says the key to increasing your words is this… “You have to do a lot of the language dance. You can’t just talk when you have to talk,” Coon explains.
And that’s what Simply Smart Kids is all about. It’s a series of videos for parents or caregivers. In them, other parents model 5 simple strategies, called Power Tools, to help build a child’s language and literacy skills from the time they’re born until 5 years old. You can find video previews of the strategies on the Simply Smart website
“It’s not about sitting down with books, and paper and flashcards, it’s about a parent’s language being coached and used when you’re riding in the car, when you’re sitting at the table, when you’re in the grocery store, all times of the day,” Mollison says about the program.
Diane Hanaway is a retired teacher and co-founder. She’s been using the strategies with her grandkids.
"I see it works. I’m always using higher level thinking words and thinking out of the box a little more,” she explains.
"Most parents are really good parents, but this program is intended to help them go from good to great," says co-founder Berna Ravitz. She was a principal for years in Detroit and Farmington, and recently retired.
To Learn More
The program can be purchased by age group, or you get a hard copy of the whole program of a downloadable version. Visit SimplySmartKids.com for more information.