Over the past three months, an innovative new program has engaged Apache children up to six years old with events both online and in-person - virtual storytime books read aloud, a guided craft activity painting cute little ‘story rocks,’ and even a scavenger hunt inviting families to walk down San Carlos Avenue encouraging their kiddos to search for hidden treasures. Completely free, enriching online events continue June 16 at 4 p.m., creating Baby Photo Books to help your little ones build skills for reading, and again June 23 when participants will build a ‘Rhyming Box’ to help children develop pre-reading skills and get ready to read through play. Find the link for these and future events at extension.arizona.edu/gowa, email [email protected], or call Christine Carlson at (928) 978-5774.
“We’re so pleased to bring this new program to San Carlos Apache parents or guardians, grandparents, childcare providers, and those aunties and uncles who are caregivers of babies, toddlers and kids birth to six years old,” said Christine Carlson, the University of Arizona Instructional Specialist who coordinates Gowa Teachable Moments for Apache Children through UA’s Cooperative Extension program. “This early literacy program provides free materials and events to help children up to age six develop the skills they need to learn to read and to be successful. Singing, talking, playing, reading, and writing are all ways to help young children get ready to read, these are also activities so easily added to your everyday routine. Check our website: extension.arizona.edu/Gowa for story time videos, activity ideas, quick tips, and information about upcoming virtual and in-person events. Parents are also invited to like and follow us at facebook.com/gilaextension. We look forward to seeing you and your family at a Gowa Teachable Moments event soon!”
The Apache word leads the program’s name: ‘Gowa’ represents a home where learning starts at an early age. The advisory board suggested including it in the program name as one goal of this program is to help families make their homes places where learning begins at a young age. This wonderful new program was developed with extensive local input. An advisory board of San Carlos Apache community members helping develop this program includes board members LaToya Beatty - First Things First, Regional Director; Juliet Benvenuto - Tribal Social Services, Educator; Veronica Gossett - First Things First, Outreach Coordinator; Cheryl Haozous - San Carlos Unified School District, Parent Educator; Heather Haozous - San Carlos Unified School District, Parent Educator; Lorenda Kenton - Tribal Social Services, Educator; Beatrice Lee - Apache Language Preservation, Director; Nikki Lewis - Library District, Early Literacy Community Liaison; LJ Murphy - San Carlos Apache Wellness Center, Psychologist; Nolita April Noline - Head Start and Childcare, Director; and Bernadette Talkalai - Apache Language Preservation, Apache Teacher for Early Childhood Teachers.
Handouts and videos you can find online at extension.arizona.edu/Gowa started with a video about asking open-ended questions. Thoughtful and creative new handouts and videos explain how you can use a grocery store insert to coax a child’s early literacy. Explore the website for family-friendly activities using songs, family stories, and games to promote early literacy; exploring books with your children; and being smart about screen time. To find all these materials, go to extension.arizona.edu/gowa, scroll down to the Activities section, and clink “View all Activities” to see the handouts and quick tip videos. Facebook is also a fun, convenient way to connect. Like and follow facebook.com/gilaextension for announcements of new events and programs, too. And please help spread the word about Gowa: Teachable Moments for Apache Children - tell parents, grandparents, and other caregivers (Head Start, preschool teachers, and family childcare providers) about this creative new program and website.