November 3 — MOULTRIE, GA — The University of Georgia Archway Youth Development Task Force hosted a dinner with Colquitt County leaders on Tuesday evening explaining foundational skills for strengthening early childhood literacy in the community.
Sarah Adams, Dale Rickett and Erin Honeycut, members of UGA’s youth development task force, told The Observer that “The Basics Literacy Program” is more than a program, but a community effort.
“The Basics” are five principles that anyone who engages children can use to help start the process of child development and learning from birth to age 5.
The objective of the dinner was to introduce “The Basics” practices for those who do not know or have not learned how to implement them with their child.
Some parents or caregivers may already instinctively use “The Basics,” organizers said, but the initiative is to share them with the community as a common language to empower Colquitt County’s younger generations.
“90% of a child’s brain development happens by age 5. That’s a very precious window, and that’s before school starts. So you can really benefit from doing these simple activities with your child to engage them on different levels,” Honeycutt said in a pre-dinner conversation.
Each principle implemented by a parent or caregiver can strengthen babies and toddlers on different levels.
She added, “These are really easy things to do, and you don’t need any special equipment or anything to do them. It’s mostly about talking and being intentional about how you talk and interact with your child.”
The principles include:
* Maximize love, manage stress.
* Speak, sing and point.
* Count, group and compare.
* Explore through movement and play.
* Read and discuss stories.
Members of the task force said “The Basics” should not just be used by parents or carers, but can be used in any local business such as a hair salon or barber shop, center community, place of worship or health center.
Adams presented reading tips prepared by Bertha Rogers, who was unable to attend. She suggested adults choose short stories in bright colors and use big expressions or gestures as they read to children. Young children should be held close to the reader while older children can sit in a reading circle.
“It’s not just a book. It’s a practice,” Adams told attendees.
The Basics Colquitt County is the second project from the UGA Youth Development Task Force team following the publication of “Colquitt County Child,” a baby book funded by a United Way Community Impact Grant. . It was produced in partnership with Colquitt County Family Connection.
Sunbelt Expo Colquitt County Member Chip Blalock, Sheree Hamilton of the Moultrie-Colquitt County Parks and Recreation Authority and Angela Hobby of the Colquitt County School District were in attendance.
The UGA Youth Development Task Force team includes Sarah Adams, Tabitha Baldy, Lykesa Bridges, Nick Chastain, Erin Honeycutt and Dale Rickett.
To find out how to get active in The Basics Colquitt County, please email basicsofCC@gmail.com or visit www.thebasics.org. A localized website is under development.