Babies on Track – They’re All Over Alaska

BoT-Kotzebue-backpack-NEW-2In 2012, we launched Babies on Track, a 14-minute DVD for parents, with two companion two baby board books. Babies on Track promotes parents’ interactions with babies during everyday activities to help them learn language, sounds, and social skills. So how are folks distributing and using Babies on Track around Alaska? We asked around. Here’s what we learned.

In Kotzebue, the Northwest Arctic Infant Learning Program does development screenings of young children. After the screening, the parent receives Babies on Track as part of a resource-filled “Baby Backpack.”

Visiting nurses at Nutaqsiivik Nurse Family Partnership, a home visiting program at Southcentral Foundation, use Babies on Track as a teaching tool, a way to talk to parents about the importance of talking, singing, reading and playing with their children. Nutaqsiivik has distributed more than 200 Babies on Track sets to families in Anchorage and Mat-Su. Nutaqsiivik’s Tina Anliker reports that the families are excited to receive the books-and-video set. “For some of our families, it’s the first book they receive.”

The partner agencies of Juneau Partnership for Families and Children distribute Babies on Track to parents of infants or toddlers, as part of their conversations about literacy and language development. This year, the partnership collectively gave Babies on Track to 384 families—that represents more than 25% of Juneau children under age 3.

“Now we can ask parents—do you have a Babies on Track kit? Have you watched the DVD? Have you read the books with your child? We can talk about Babies on Track and have a shared, common language, to reinforce the important concepts with parents,” said Joy Lyon, executive director of the Association for the Education of Young Children-Southeast Alaska. (AEYC-SEA is a partnership member.)

She added that many of the parents who received Babies on Track in the initial roll-out are still using the books and ideas with their newest child.

Now in Thousands of Homes!

In the 2 1/2 years since creating Babies on Track, Best Beginnings has distributed nearly 8,000 sets! More than 4,000 were given out during 167 Babies on Track Premieres in 80 Alaska communities in spring of 2012. The rest have gone out to parents and families, librarians and teachers, and other partners in learning around the state. See for yourself what makes Babies on Track so unique.