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SCI, pediatricians partner to share The Basics to families

  • Jun 28, 2021
  • Shannon Nickinson
Dad and Baby Dad and Baby
Studer Community Institute announces a new partnership with two top pediatric practices in the area that creates the opportunity to reach the families of more than 22,000 children ages birth to 5 in our area.  

SCI works to implement and spread projects to help every child in our community have a good chance for a great start at being ready for kindergarten. In Escambia County, where only 48 percent of children are kindergarten ready, that means meeting families where they are and sharing tools to help parents talk and interact more with their children as part of a recipe to fuel healthy brain development — a key component of school readiness. 

Pensacola Pediatrics and Community Health Northwest Florida have joined Studer Community Institute’s Basics Pensacola network. They will offer The Basics video lessons — and the chance to sign up for Basics Insights text messages — to their families. These partners account for 17 clinics and offices that serve more 22,000 children under 5 each year. 

“We are excited to partner with the Studer Community Institute by offering The Basics to our pediatric patients here at Community Health Northwest Florida.,” said Sandra Donaldson, chief advocacy officer for CHNWF. “(We) are committed to connecting our patients to our community’s most valuable resources. SCI shares our greater vision for our community; one that ignites health and prosperity.”  

“We look forward to this collaborative approach that focuses on early childhood success.” 

Dr. Carol Andrew of Pensacola Pediatrics said “we strive to empower parents to provide opportunities for every child to thrive.  

“This partnership with SCI to provide research-based tools and education to our families is an exciting opportunity to make that impact broader and more meaningful in their everyday lives. I am so enthusiastic about the difference this can make in lifelong trajectory of all children in our community.” 

The 16 doctors in the Pensacola Pediatrics group will be able to use The Basics video lessons — and the chance to sign up for Basics Insights text messages — with the families who use one of the practice’s six locations for the healthcare of their children. I If your child’s pediatrician is at the Cordova, Nine Mile, Tiger Point, Johnson Avenue, Pace or Milton offices, they soon will be sharing The Basics of healthy brain building with you! Pensacola Pediatrics sees 12,800 children ages birth to 5 each year. 

At Community Health, Dr. Michelle Grier-Hall will be rolling out The Basics at Community Health’s Airport Pediatrics location later this summer. In her role as Director of Pediatrics for Community Health Northwest Florida, Dr. Grier-Hall also is helping launch The Basics at Community Health's other 10 pediatric practice locations this Fall. Through the use of video and other resources made available at these pediatric sites, Community Health will be able to offer Basics Insights text messages to their families and promote early childhood education. Look for The Basics to come to these pediatric practices very soon. We are grateful to the Community Health team for their help to put brain-building within reach for their 10,000 pediatric patients under age 5. 

Bringing The Basics video lessons and texting platform to the pediatric space is an important evolution in the work of improving outcomes for children in the community. Data analysis of the parents who piloted Insights texts from May to October of 2020 shows the tool nudges parents to talk and interact more with their children. Shannon Nickinson, director of early learning for SCI, says that interaction is a key component of building healthy brains that are ready and eager to learn when it comes time to begin kindergarten. 

SCI is a local affiliate of the Basics Learning Network, part of the Achievement Gap Initiative founded by Harvard economics professor Dr. Ron Ferguson. The Basics of healthy brain building, according to Ferguson’s team are:  

1) Maximize love; manage stress. 

2) Talk, sing and point. 

3) Count, group and compare.  

4) Explore through movement and play.  

5) Read and discuss stories. 

The Basics uses video lessons and a texting service around a curriculum to reach parents where they are and help them learn and use these concepts to boost the time and the quality of the interaction they have with their children. 

Insights sends twice-a-week texts to a parent or caregiver’s phone, based on the child’s age. The first text is a fact or developmentally age-appropriate skill a child may be showing or developing. The second text, send a day or two later, is a suggestion or activity that reinforces the skill from the first text. 

Insights also sends parents a quarterly survey to track their behavior changes in interaction their children. Preliminary analysis of the 2020 parents in Insights shows a 17 percent increase in the behaviors Basics aims to encourage in the first three months of enrollment. These behaviors include reading every day, hugging or cuddling your baby, playing together. 

The analysis also shows:  

— Growth of 12.9 percentage points in the proportion of respondents who talk multiple times per day with their child about feelings — up from a baseline of 23%. 

— Growth of 14 percentage points in proportion who report talking multiple times daily about numbers or counting objects — up from a baseline of 31%. 

— 20.2 percentage point increase in the number who play on the floor with their child multiple times a day — up from a baseline of 41%. 

Data analysis also shows an increase in confidence among parents who initially rate themselves low in perseverance and forward-looking orientation. “These findings suggest that BI texts may have its greatest impact on families whose baseline dispositions make them least likely in the absence of BI to implement Basics-related parenting practices,” the data analysis found. 

It also shows the following favorable outcomes:  

74% report speaking about the texts with family or friends. 

98% would recommend the messages. 

91% agree the messages help them understand their child. 

93% agree they learned new things to do with their child. 

97% agree the messages keep them thinking about how to help their child learn. 

84% use all or most of the messages. 


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