A local collective is working to show parents and caregivers what they can do at home to help expand their children’s vocabularies and overall development —and they’re hoping to eliminate gaps in development among Black children, specifically, along the way. With their 10th annual “Baby Talk” event on Saturday, February 22 at Pinellas Technical College, child development professionals will discuss the importance of equipping caregivers with the skills they need to begin closing the “million word gap”—the 30-million-word difference between children entering Kindergarten.
“While law makers and school officials try to figure out what rules to enforce in schools around learning, we’re equipping parents and caregivers to begin laying the child development foundation at home,” says Dr. Ricardo Davis, president of Concerned Organizations for the Quality Education of Black Students (COQUEBS) . “And since there are proven educational disparities for Black children, we are passionate about making sure their communities are equipped to serve them in the ways they deserve.”
The collective—which includes University of South Florida, Concerned Organizations for the Quality Education of Black Students, R’Club Childcare Inc and Juvenile Welfare Board, Early Learning Coalition, Imagination Station, and Infinite Potential Learning Center—has come together to provide resources to underserved communities in an effort to help their children exceed from an early age.
Maureen Joseph, a professor at Tulane University School of Social Work, will be the keynote speaker at Saturday’s event, highlighting strategies for creating equity in early learning. Corey Thornton, a high-energy “edutainment” artist will perform songs for guests. The event will also include giveaways like Tampa Bay Rays family passes and Great Explorations Children’s Museum passes and books. There will also be face-painting, learning stations, and family engagement activities—all free for attendants.
The event begins at 9:30am this Saturday at Pinellas Technical College South. For more information and to register for the event, visit www.bit.ly/babytalk2020.com. Entry is free, but registration is encouraged.
About Concerned Organization for Quality Education of Black Students
Concerned Organization for Quality Education of Black Students, Inc. (“COQEBS”) is the court-approved entity to monitor and enforce the Pinellas County School District’s commitment to providing quality education for black students. COQEBS has consistently advocated for research-based and/or evidence-based solutions to the challenge. For more information, visit https://digital.usfsp.edu/coqebs/