In the Fall of 2014, only 55% of Kindergarteners entered school ready. Dedicated to improving Kindergarten Readiness rates across the county, members of the Early Childhood Family Empowerment Action Network (ECFEAN) joined together last Fall to equip and empower Dallas County families, parents, and guardians of children ages 0 to 5 as their child’s first teacher. To increase awareness surrounding early brain development and the immense learning that occurs in a child’s first five years of life, more than twenty five members are now coordinating a pilot to share Vroom, a free mobile app, with families.

Vroom uses easily digestible tips to help caregivers turn everyday interactions with young children into brain building moments. Vroom’s initial pilot in Seattle, Washington demonstrated a 12 point increase in caregiver awareness of brain building behaviors and an increase in caregiver engagement with children. This year, Dallas County joins Seattle and 3 other geographies (Los Angeles, and the states of Colorado and Oregon) as a part of a national effort to increase awareness and application of brain building behaviors. Incorporating key learnings from Seattle, the Dallas Pilot is sharing Vroom through a surround sound approach—ensuring that parents hear about Vroom multiple times and from multiple sources.

By utilizing trusted messengers who are already doing great work in the community and sharing Vroom in the communities where families shop, worship, play and live, we hope to measure a 15 point increase in parent adoption. Pilot partners range from school districts, child care centers, health clinics, libraries, community centers and even home visiting services. A media campaign including ads on DART, Facebook and Google will reinforce messaging shared by partners.

In order to gain insight into the level of adoption and implementation of brain building activities in the home, partner organizations have collected over 1,500 pre-pilot surveys from families. These pre-pilot surveys, which collect data about families’ beliefs about the importance of early learning and the daily interactions they have with their children, will be compared with post-pilot surveys to be collected in February.

If you would like to learn how you can share Vroom with families or participate in the Early Childhood Family Empowerment Action Network please email Jaime.meyers@commit2dallas.org