New Play and Learn Kits Promote Language Skills

May 25, 2007
Preschool Students at Gaithersburg Judy Center Will Demonstrate PAL Activities

A press conference to showcase the new Play and Learn (PAL) kits for parents and young children has been scheduled at the Gaithersburg Judy Center on Tuesday, May 29, at 10:00 a.m. The center is located on the campus of Summit Hall Elementary School, 101 West Deer Park Road in Gaithersburg.

PAL kits, developed by Montgomery County Public Schools and early childhood partners, are designed to foster language skills in preschool children (ages two and three) at risk for language deficits and assist parents in preparing their children for kindergarten. The PAL kits include books and activity cards in English and Spanish—along with bubbles, crayons, and music—that provide opportunities for rich language exploration and conversation between parents and children.

The materials in these kits have been specifically selected to enhance and encourage language development in children at an age when disparities in language begin to appear. By the time children enter kindergarten, vocabulary acquisition may range from as little as 500 words to as many as 13,000.

PAL kits have been distributed to 100 families living below the poverty level, a group with children statistically at highest risk for deficits in language skills. Expanded distribution of approximately 3,000 kits is planned over the next year.

Among the participants in the press conference are Board of Education President Nancy Navarro, Superintendent Jerry D. Weast, County health and human services and child development leaders, and parents and students who attend the Gaithersburg Judy Center.

There are 24 Judy Centers in Maryland, providing programs to promote school readiness and to focus on the development of children from birth through five years of age.

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