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Early Learning

Parenting Counts

From the first moments of life, children are learning from the world around them. Their parents and caregivers are their very first teachers. Recognizing the importance and relevance of adult interactions in a child's development, WTTW is now broadcasting an on-air initiative, developed by the Talaris Institute, called Parenting Counts.

Airing throughout the WTTW Kids line-up of programming, these slice-of-life depictions of everyday parent/child interactions remind parents of how important their role as first teacher truly is. Using the latest in child development research and a touch of humor, each Parenting Counts on-air spot provides practical and easy-to-understand information on caring for young children.

Be sure to watch for the Parenting Counts television spots during WTTW Kids programming and let us know what you think!

Parent Workshops

As part of a grant from the Talaris Institute, a non-profit organization located in Seattle, Washington, WTTW Kids Early Learning Initiative will take the Parenting Counts campaign beyond-the-screen and into the community with FREE Parenting Counts Parent Workshops. Beginning fall of 2008, WTTW will share with our viewing audience Talaris Institute's line of educational materials and print companions to the on air Parenting Counts initiative. These quality, highly accessible materials aim to help parents and caregivers understand how children, birth to five, think, feel, and learn. With practical and fun information that comes straight from the most prominent research on early childhood development, Parenting Counts helps parents turn everyday moments into moments that help young children develop in healthy ways.

In addition, through the generous support of WTTW Kids Early Learning Initiative sponsors, the Dr. Scholl Foundation and JPMorgan Chase Foundation, we will distribute FREE children's books to the children of workshop participants. As a part of our on-going commitment to emphasizing the importance of adult-child shared reading time to the development of early literacy skills and to engender a love of reading and books in children, WTTW distributes approximately 2,000 books annually. Workshop participants will also receive additional program and literacy-based materials.

Partnering with WTTW Kids Early Learning Initiative are two community organizations who will help ensure our reach to parents. A consortium of participating YMCAs and the Chicago Public School's STARNET Region V have agreed to join forces with us to reach parents throughout the Chicago area. Together we plan to bring Parenting Counts to parents through informative workshops and events throughout the 2008/2009 school year.

Our efforts will also include supporting on-going parent outreach by our partners. WTTW Kids Early Learning Initiative staff will train early childhood professionals at participating YMCAs to continue workshops in the future. WTTW will provide a complete educational kit to each participating YMCA and a four-hour train-the-trainer workshop for its employees.

Workshop Description

Parenting Counts Parent Workshops will take place throughout the winter and spring of 2008 and 2009. The information is engaging, the conversation will be lively, and parents will leave encouraged and empowered.

During workshops adult participants will:

  • view :60 Parenting Counts television spots
  • learn from research based child development information
  • engage in group discussions
  • participate in activities meant to demonstrate how a child, birth to five, thinks, feels, and learns
  • express their concerns, ask questions, and share experiences in a comfortable atmosphere
  • be encouraged and empowered to be the best parent they can be
  • enjoy a light meal with other parents in their community
  • receive Parenting Counts materials, tips and reminders, as well as a FREE book for each of their children

Important information regarding workshops:

  • Workshops are meant for parents and caregivers of children 0 - 5 years old
  • Workshops are two-hours in length
  • Most workshops will take place on weekday evenings at a partnering organization's location
  • Workshops are FREE and open-to-the-public and prior registration is requested
  • Workshops are for adults only. Parents and caregivers will need to arrange appropriate childcare for their children.
  • A door-prize drawing will take place at each workshop.
  • Workshop participants will be asked to complete a survey.

More Information

To learn more about the Talaris Institute and Parenting Counts please visit

Additional Support

This and more outreach activity by the WTTW Kids Early Learning Initiative is made possible in part by the generous support of the Dr. Scholl Foundation and the JPMorgan Chase Foundation. Thank you.

Workshop schedule available December 2008.

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