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As a parent, you are your child’s most important teacher. You can encourage learning through simple everyday moments.  You can instill curiosity in your child by exploring new things or by looking closer at what is already familiar. When you spend unhurried time talking and playing with your child and discovering new things ... you’re helping your child to learn!
Use the bulleted links below to quickly access the information you want.
  • Learning through Play
  • Language & Literacy Help
  • Children's Internet Games
  • Play is crucially important to children’s intellectual, social and emotional development. Opportunities for learning through play are everywhere … and most of these learning experiences are at no additional cost. From the grocery store to the playground to the doctor’s office, experiences relevant to mathematics, literacy and scientific concepts abound. Check out the links below to learn more on how to create learning moments so that you and your child can get you started on the exciting adventure of learning though play!
    • Parent/Child Socialization Groups - Sarasota County Library offers a variety of programs for parents/caregivers and their children, from story time to play groups to onsite activity boxes that make learning fun and easy to do! 
      -Forty Carrots Partners in Play classes held at the library follow an engaging curriculum that allows parents to share meaningful playtime with their children.
    • Parents as Teachers -Sarasota Family YMCA's HIPPY Program helps low-income families be ready for kindergarten by empowering parents to be their child's first and most influential teacher; to help children develop a lifelong love of learning and to instill in families the dedication, commitment and understanding that children respond positively when expectations are high and parents are involved.
      -PBS's Whole Child offers parents great resources to learn more about making the most out of your child's early years and being the best caregiver you can.  Explore the articles, in-home activity ideas, reading lists, forums, and related Web sites for information designed to help you and your family.
      -Being the Best Parent For even more information on being your child's teacher visit our Being the Best Parent section!

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    Early language and literacy (reading and writing) development begins in the first three years of life and is closely linked to a child's earliest experiences with books and stories. The interactions that young children have with such literacy materials as books, paper, and crayons and with the adults in their lives are the building blocks for language, reading and writing development.
    • Free Literacy Tools and Information - Growing Minds Read Your child's success is as 1. Talk 2. Listen 3. Read. Learn about how you can be a part of Sarasota's program so that you can access free literacy tools and information to put your child on the road to success!
    • Story Time, Music & More - Sarasota County Libraries offer a wonderful array of story time opportunities and more for you and your child. Programs include preschool story time, as well as toddler, infant and family programming. 
    • For Families Whose Primary Language is Not English - Sarasota County Libraries offer library cards, reading materials, incentives, and resources to help parents when English is not a first language.
      -Sarasota Family YMCA's HIPPY (Home Instruction for Preschool Youngsters) program assists parents in being their child's first teacher by giving them the tools, skills and confidence they need to work with their children at home. Eligibility requirements apply.
    • Create. Laugh. Imagine. Explore. Learn. Smile. Grow. Brought to you by the National Center for Family Literacy, Wonderopolis® is a place where wonder and learning are nurtured through the power of discovery, creativity and imagination. This site will help your child discover the joy of reading and learning!

    • Free interactive tools designed for parents of children ages birth through five - Nemours BrightStart!’s new website, whose centerpiece is the Preschool Reading Screener for 3- to 5-year olds, gives parents an accurate snapshot of their child's pre-reading skills. Based on the results, a customized action plan will guide parents in prioritizing selected activities and recommended books.

    • Use the 3T's - Tune In, Talk More, Take Turns
      During the first three years of life, billions and billions of brain connections are made. There’s no other time in life when brain growth is so rapid. What’s driving these connections? Rich early experiences with loving, responsive caregivers.

      Talk and interaction are food for the developing brain.

      Research has found that how and how much a parent talks and interacts with their child from birth has a big impact on the child’s success in school and life. How can a parent make the most of their talk and interaction? Use the 3Ts!

      The 3Ts: Tune In, Talk More, Take Turns
      Tune In means be in the moment with your child.
      Talk More means use a wide variety of words.
      Take Turns means engage your child in conversation.

      When a parent uses all 3Ts at once, they build the strongest brain possible for their child.
      The 3T's.

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    Whether the subject matter is reading, writing or mathematics, the Internet can be used as a powerful and enjoyable tool for children to learn valuable educational skills in just about any field. Of course, nothing can replace the loving help of a parent when it comes to child development and allowing a child to sit at the computer for great lengths of time can be damaging and must be avoided. Parents are encouraged to visit these links with their child and make playing these games a team effort.

    Links to fun sites for pre-readers ages 3-6.
    • Berenstain Bears: Fun activities that including interactive storybooks, coloring pages, mazes and puzzles.
    • Do2Learn: Provides special learning resources for individuals with disabilities and the professionals and caregivers who serve them.
    • Funschool: Fun and educational games and activities for kids.
    • Play and Learn: Play and learn early literacy skills such as letters, numbers, shapes. Practice writing letters and finding letters on the keyboard. Curriculum available in English, French, German and Spanish.
    • PBS Kids: Enjoy games, stories, music and coloring based on all your favorite PBS shows including Arthur, Berenstain Bears, Caillou, Teletubbies and more.
    • Sesame Street: It’s always fun to visit Sesame Street - play games, listen to stories, hear your favorite songs and go to Elmo's World.
    • Seussville: Visit the Playground for games, story maker, and print-and-play activities
    • Starfall: Great site for beginning readers - learn your ABC’s and letter sounds.
    • Thomas the Tank Engine: Visit Thomas the Tank, play games and meet all of his friends.

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