Kaiser Permanente has joined a host of business and community leaders in support of a new campaign designed to give young people a strong and healthy head start in life. The campaign titled Talking is Teaching: Talk Read Sing was launched by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at an Oakland, Calif. event on July 23, 2014, and was shared with parents and children the following day at a nearby children’s park.
The campaign – which will include television, radio, and billboard ads directed at parents and caregivers of babies and toddlers – highlights simple actions that researchers say can significantly improve a baby’s ability to build vocabulary and boost brain development. Such actions include describing things you might see while riding the bus, asking children questions, singing songs, reading aloud and telling them stories.
Talking is Teaching is a joint effort of several organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area — including Kaiser Permanente, Bay Area Council, and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland — and Too Small to Fail, a joint initiative of the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation and Next Generation.
Jorge Gutierrez, MD, assistant physician-in-chief for Pediatrics at Kaiser Permanente’s Oakland Medical Center explained that kids who have family members who read, sing, and talk to them learn more words.
“The more words they know, the more success they have in school, and there’s a snowball effect where success breeds more success and confidence,” he said.
Helping Children Develop to Their Full Capability
According to recent field research, less than half of low-income parents and caregivers in Oakland report reading to their children every day, and even fewer report talking about their day and singing to their children. These activities have been shown to have a profound impact on the development of very young children’s brain capacity.
Dr. Bert Lubin, MD, President and CEO of UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland, said the campaign emphasizes actions that are free and easy for parents to do.
“Our goal is to give these children the best opportunity to be resilient, to have a healthy childhood, and to develop to their full capabilities,” he said.
Both Children’s Hospital Oakland and Kaiser Permanente Oakland will distribute a Talking is Teaching toolkit produced by the makers of Sesame Street to the parents of new babies and toddlers. Parents will also learn how to sign up for Text4Baby, a free mobile health service that sends pregnant women and new moms regular reminders about the importance of talking, reading and singing to young children.
Janet Liang, chief operating officer, Kaiser Permanente Northern California, reflected on the connections between education and health.
“We recognize the role early childhood development plays in an individual’s health later in life. By providing the Talking is Teaching tools to Oakland families, we’re making a strong investment in the community’s health.”
- Learn more about the Teaching is Talking: Talk Read Sing campaign.
- Watch a short video to learn more about how and why the Teaching is Talking campaign was created.