Brain Bags are early literacy gift bags given to each of the 5,000 women who give birth in Escambia County’s birthing hospitals. The Bags include: a storybook, “P is For Pelican, the ABCs of Pensacola,” which uses landmarks in our community to build letter awareness and encourage family reading; Baby Steps, a baby book that can be personalized to help parents track early brain development milestones in the first three years of life; a toy; and community resource information and partners to help support parents. It includes library locations, screen time guidelines, healthy lifestyle advice for first year of life, and more.
The project was launched with a grant from IMPACT 100 Pensacola Bay Area in spring 2017. It continues through the generous support of our sponsors and donors. More than 18,500 have been given out at Baptist, Sacred Heart, Santa Rosa Medical Center and West Florida hospitals since the project’s first year.
The Brain Bags are stored, assembled and delivered by Arc Gateway’s Pollack Industries, which offers life- and work-skills training for adults with developmental disabilities.
In the first phase, about 500 of these Brain Bags were targeted for distribution through partner agencies in the community who work directly with parents of children ages birth to 3. These partners include: Early Steps, Healthy Start Coalition, Children’s Home Society, Families First Network and Early Childhood Court.
The Brain Bag survey to ask moms two questions: On a scale of 1-10, rate your knowledge of how parent talk influences early brain development before the Brain Bag, and then rate it after. Overall our parents say their knowledge started at: 7.6 and increases to a 9.7 after the bag.
Early Learning Initiatives
An Early Learning City is community that give parents the tools, advice and support they need to help their children be ready for kindergarten. From healthcare to business, everyone has a part to play.