Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Partnering with Pediatricians

Getting to know local pediatricians (and/or the pediatrician’s staff) and leaving information about your program in their offices can be a good way of marketing your program.  You can reciprocate by providing a resource area in your program for parents, including materials provided by the local pediatricians and other professionals.  (Remember, make sure it’s just a referral and not a recommendation.)

A recently released policy statement on Literacy Promotion from the American Academy of Pediatrics provides another opportunity for partnership.  The policy statement explains to pediatricians why early literacy development is so important and how to counsel parents on best supporting this development.  Pediatricians are encouraged to :
  • Inform parents about the importance of reading out loud to their children from the time they are born
  • Counsel parents about developmentally appropriate shared-reading activities (like dialogic reading)
  • Provide developmentally appropriate books for high-risk, low-income young children
  • Provide resources for parents about literacy—informative posters and handouts, library information, etc.
  • Partner with other child advocates (like you)

While pediatricians can be a great literacy resource for parents, they are medical professionals, not education professionals.  As an early education professional, you can be a resource to the local pediatricians to expand their knowledge on early literacy and to answer any questions they or their clients may have regarding best practices in early learning.  Perhaps you could provide recommendations on which books they could offer to children of various ages, donate some inexpensive books or bookmarks, or provide parent handouts with early literacy suggestions.  Just make sure your contact information is on everything you provide!

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