Place-based early literacy initiatives giving families a sense of community pride

February 12, 2019
By Linda Jacobson
Since 2012, families in Grundy County, Tennessee — northwest of Chattanooga — have been learning about lesser-known treasures in their rural community in partnership with the Yale Child Study Center, Scholastic and Sewanee: The University of the South.
 
Discover Together Grundy is a place-based, early literacy and family resilience initiative that aims to build stronger connections between families as they learn and share the stories that surround them. Through a parent co-op for young children, a summer camp and an after-school program, the children and their families begin to take pride in the place they call home.
 
“This is one of the most naturally beautiful areas in the state,” Dr. Linda Mayes, a psychiatry, pediatrics and psychology professor at Yale — who graduated from Sewanne — said in an interview. “Through grounding a curriculum in your place, the families are starting to learn about their own backyard.”
 
Now, the leaders of an early-childhood initiative in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, are hoping to bring those same experiences to families in an urban setting.