What We Do
The Children’s Storefront works with families to promote the development of children in the first thousand days of life to build a strong foundation for lifelong learning.
We provide free interactive group “Learn and Play” sessions to families with babies and toddlers in socio-economically diverse areas. These sessions offer opportunities to play, sing, respond to books read out loud, and be part of a supportive community. The approach we take is based upon research demonstrating that it is the back and forth interactions between caregivers and children – dubbed “Serve and Return” by researchers at Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child – that are instrumental in creating the brain architecture that is the foundation for all future learning.
Our sessions, which are currently offered virtually due to the pandemic, give parents and caregivers with their children the opportunity to participate without leaving their homes. During each session groups of four to five families are led by a team of two trained early childhood coaches. The team engages families with music, books and activities, and provides support to the parents/caregivers themselves, in response to this time of heightened isolation and anxiety.
After the pandemic we will reopen Learn and Play Centers in Harlem and other neighborhoods based on the program we ran in the summer of 2019. These free centers will be available to all families with babies and toddlers and will be stocked with books, toys, musical instruments, building and art materials, and staffed with coaches who provide tips and tools to build a strong foundation for learning.