Learning Parties are interactive, hands-on, parent/child parties that promote young children’s development of school readiness skills. Based on the belief that parents are their child’s first teacher, Learning Parties teach parents how to make everyday moments learning moments through playing, singing, talking, reading, and engaging in fun activities. Originally developed by Children’s Resources International and modified by Ready At Five, the Learning Party curricula support the seven domains of learning: Language & Literacy, Math, Science, Social Foundations, Physical Well-Being and Motor Development, Social Studies and Fine Arts, in addition to the Parent Leadership Learning Party which was developed in collaboration with experts at EPIC (Every Person Influences Children). Parent Leadership Learning Party materials were developed with Maryland State Department of Education, Division of Early Childhood, as part of the Family Engagement Initiative, funded through a grant opportunity with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Each series consists of four 90-minute Learning Parties and contains the following components:
Parent Skill Development. A Lead Trainer demonstrates a variety of techniques and strategies for improving the skills and abilities of their children. Each session focuses on a specific concept.
Child Play Session. While parents are learning new skills, children attend a fun learning room, where a child care provider engages the children in directed child play, aligned with the specific concepts discussed at the parent portion of the Learning Party.
Practice and Parent-Child Activities. When the parents/families and children are reunited, parents practice the activities with their child, while trainers provide positive feedback and constructive suggestions.
Parent Networking enables parents to meet, talk with, and learn from other parents.
Home Connection and Learning Library. Parents are given a homework assignment, as well as a variety of books, developmentally appropriate materials, and educational toys to start an early learning library in their home.
Learning Parties have been offered to hundreds of families and children throughout Maryland.
Ready At Five offers “train-the-trainer” (TOT) sessions for early educators, librarians and other early childhood professionals in how to deliver the Learning Party curriculum. TOT participants receive the complete Learning Party curriculum kit, and all the information needed to implement the Learning Parties on their own for the families in their communities. The Learning Party Curriculum materials were recently (Summer 2016) updated to align with the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment standards, and the kit was redesigned for greater ease-of-use.
Ready At Five staff offer technical assistance to anyone implementing the Learning Parties.