Successful Providence Childhood Language Program Expands to 5 Other Cities


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Providence Talks is expanding into five additional U.S. cities. Bloomberg Philanthropies recently announced that Birmingham, Alabama, Detroit, Hartford, Louisville and Virginia Beach are picking up the program.

Providence Talks is an early-childhood program aimed at closing the word gap between affluent and low-income children.

The program provides families with a recording device called a word pedometer that counts the adult words spoken in a child's presence, as well as the number of conversations a child engages in during the day.

Providence launched Providence Talks in 2014 after winning a competitive, $5 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies. It enrolls children between 2 and 30 months of age and coaches parents on the importance of speaking to their child.

The expansion is in line with a 2018 Brown University study that found the program "constitutes a promising strategy to disrupt the status quo to advance learning for all children" but that some parts of it are more effective than others.

According to Kimberly Fernandez, executive direct of Federal Hill House, a Providence non-profit that oversees Providence Talks, they are tweaking the program to offer more "play groups" for a longer period of time, 10 weeks as opposed to six.

The Brown review also found that by the end of the program, on average, all children made progress.

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Federal Programs Related to - Education, General/Other

Programs that provide opportunities for people in the community to acquire the knowledge, skills, desirable qualities of behavior and character, wisdom and general competence that will enable them to fully participate in and enjoy the social, political, economic and intellectual life of the community. Home-Based Education; Home Education; Home Schooling



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