University of Chicago Partnership

Early Learning Center

University of Chicago Partnership

Studer Community Institute’s tools and content to build an Early Learning City are informed by a partnership we have established with the University of Chicago’s TMW Center for Early Learning and Public Health, a research project in the university’s school of economics.

The TMW Center takes a public health approach to early learning using evidence-based interventions to engage parents, caregivers and practitioners into maximizing children’s early language development in the first three years of life. They’ve shared with us for testing TMW Newborn, an educational video being developed for the parents of newborns to be delivered before leaving the hospital.

The video-based research project aims to measure what a new mom knows about her child’s early brain development, and then through an iPad-based video, increase her knowledge of the power that language has to build an infant’s brain.

The video was tested with nearly 600 families in two Chicago-area hospitals. Pensacola was the first outside pilot of the project. Our mothers will be contributing to fine-tuning the messaging for research that is proving to be effective at increasing what parents know about brain development — and the role it plays in school readiness.

In TMW Newborn, moms are presented a survey on an iPad. It asks them questions about how babies’ brains develop and how they learn and process language. Moms are then shown a video that highlights some key teaching points about how parent talk and interaction influences a child’s brain development.

Then moms are asked the same questions again to try to see what they learned from the video.

The video is in four versions: a short version (about 7 minutes); a long version (about 14 minutes); a short version with questions that pop up to interrupt the video (parents must answer for the video to continue playing); and a long version with the interstitial questions.

The findings so far:

  • Moms from both education level groups increased their knowledge about brain and language development.
  • The video with interstitial questions helped moms with a lower educational attainment level learn more than the video without questions. The interstitial questions had no impact on the learning gains made by moms with a 4-year degree or higher.
  • No significant difference in knowledge gains between the long and short versions of the videos.
  • It also shows, the study authors say, that such an intervention can be made part of routine postpartum care by healthcare professionals — and it will be successful.

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.