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Brain Building on the T

As seen in "Eye on Early Education" on July 2, 2014 by Alyssa Haywoode.

Publication Date: 
July 8, 2014

Don’t settle for just commuting on the T’s buses and trains. If you’re traveling with a child, use the trip to help build that child’s brain.

“When you ride the T this summer, you may see this ‘I am a Brain Builder’ ad highlighting teachable moments for parents and children while they ride public transit,” according to the Brain Building on the T website.

That ad is part of a campaign that was launched on Monday by the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) and United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley – both leaders of the state’s Brain Building in Progress effort.

Brain Building in Progress is a public/private partnership “to raise awareness of the critical importance of fostering the cognitive, social, and emotional development of young children by emphasizing its future impact on the economic prosperity of everyone in Massachusetts.”

Commuters can see the brain building ads on Orange and Red Line trains as well as on several bus routes. They are scheduled to run through the summer.

The “Brain Building on the T” website also offers easy tips on how to engage T-riding children such as:

• “Use numbers! Count the number of stops on the ride, or the number of times you can find the T logo.”

• “Look around! Notice your surroundings. Point out whether it is sunny or cloudy, hot or cold. Point out objects and ask what they are.”

• “Discover letters! Go on an alphabet hunt. Choose a letter and see where you spot it in ads or signs.”

The website also features downloadable activity sheets in English and 10 other languages as well as other useful information for parents and caregivers. And there is a calendar listing upcoming brain building events, including playgroups, story times, and a nature and science program.

EEC and the United Way are also asking parents to spread the word by snapping a photo of the T ad and by tweeting and sharing tips on brain building.

“Recent research findings show that language-rich interactions between adult caregivers and children help build children’s vocabulary and prevent word gaps from forming at an early age,” according to a recent letter written by EEC Commissioner Tom Weber and United Way President Michael Durkin.

They add: “By providing all Massachusetts children with ample opportunities for positive development and growth, we are building a strong foundation for their future learning and success!”