Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 5:37 PM on Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Premieres highlight 'Babies on Track'


Early learning and healthy brain development are the focus of a 14-minute DVD — "Babies on Track" — produced by Best Beginnings and premiering in more than 80 communities across the state between Feb. 25-March 4. The DVD comes with two companion baby boards books: "Let's Talk Alaska!" has an Alaska focus and "Our Alaska Family" features Alaska baby faces.

The video title's reference to "track" stands for a model families can follow when interacting with their babies: talk, respond, ask questions, connect, keep at it, and sing and tell stories.

The main message of "Babies on Track" is that the more parents talk with their babies and young children, the easier it is for youngsters to learn language. More interaction leads to a larger vocabulary and a child better prepared for kindergarten by age 5; if ready for kindergarten, then the more likely a child will read by third grade and will graduate from high school.

Local premieres will be held:

• Feb. 28 and March 1, playgroups with Sprout, formerly Birth 2 Three. These events include the movie and playgroup activities, sponsored by Sprout. Playgroups on Feb. 28 are held for 12-24 months old from 10-11 a.m.; for 24-36 months old from 11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m.; for 0-12 months old from 2-3 p.m. For more information call 235-6044.

• March 1, 5:30 p.m. at the Homer Public Library. This event is geared toward dads and kids; the movie, activities and food are included; it is sponsored by Homer Public Library and Kachemak Kids Learning Center, for information, call 435-3176;

• March 1, 6:30 p.m. at Chapman School in Anchor Point. This event includes the movie, activities, snacks and information on the Imagination Library; it is sponsored by the Anchor Point Imagination Library program; for more information, call (503) 680-2012.

The premieres offer opportunities to share the importance of early learning, allow parents of young children to gather and exchange ideas and develop support for early learning.

Parents of children under 2 who attend a "Babies on Track" premiere will receive a free set of the DVD and companion board books.

"Thanks to the hundreds of people who are hosting these premieres, thousands of Alaska families will be setting their babies on the right track toward success in school and success in life," Best Beginnings Executive Director Abbe Hensley said in a press release. "The tremendous wave of enthusiasm for this project — reflected by the sheer numbers of events planned — tells us that Alaskans care about early learning, at home and in their communities."

The "Babies on Track" books were made possible by support from the Alaska Children's Trust, The CIRI Foundation and ConocoPhillips Alaska. The DVD was supported by contributions from the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development and Alyeska Pipeline Service Company. Both are productions of Affinityfilms, Inc.

Best Beginnings is a nonprofit advocate for early learning in Alaska. It is a statewide umbrella for Imagination Library, promotes and supports local early childhood partnerships, and produces and distributes materials and information for early learning. For more information, visit www.BestBeginningsAlaska.org.