‘Rain or Shine’ messaging campaign supports families, caregivers with early childhood best practices

Emily Ferry, AASB Collective Impact Coordinator

Being “ready for school” is one of the most significant predictors of later school success. But how do we help young children prepare? 

The good news is that a child’s brain is wired to learn. Even better news; parents and other adults in a child’s life can help foster neural connections and the development of strong social and emotional skills like persistence, curiosity, and self-regulation that help form the foundation for future learning. 

But it’s not always apparent to parents and other adults how they can help a child develop these skills. As every new parent quickly discovers, their little ones don’t come with a user’s manual. 

“As a young parent, I didn’t know what I didn’t know,” said one parent who went on to work with Head Start.

Organizations that are part of the STEPS Alaska initiative have helped families and caregivers navigate the sometimes rough waters of early childhood through parenting classes like Circle of Security, in-home visiting programs like Parents as Teachers, playgroups, and community cafes, and support from childcare professionals and pre-school teachers. 

These organizations also recognized the need to provide more frequent, encouraging, and actionable support to reach parents where they are at, which is often on Facebook and other social media channels. They wanted messages to feel fun, positive, and reflective of the local communities and culture.  

Rain or Shine Learning All the Time is a new campaign born of these conversations. It’s designed to support, engage, and connect families and caregivers of children ages 0-5 with early childhood best practices.

The tips and inspirational images created by Southeast Alaskan artist Evon Zerbetz were developed to remind families and caregivers that even simple interactions – talking with a baby, reading with a toddler, or splashing with a pre-schooler – can help build the foundation for future learning and growth. The brains of young children are wired to learn, no matter when, where, or what the weather! And it can be fun and easy to support the process. 

The campaign was created by a coalition of partners including AEYC-Southeast Alaska, Tlingit & Haida Head Start, the Association of Alaska School Boards, Southeast school districts, and other partners working together as part of the STEPS grant. You can check out more at JuneauFamilies.org or SitkaKids.com. If you’d like to share the artwork and messages in your newsletters and social media channels, contact Emily Ferry, eferry@nullaasb.org, to learn more.

With so much competing for our attention, it can help to remember that simply getting on the floor and playing with a young child may be the most important thing you do today.