The Urban Child Institute is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the health of the Mid-South population, particularly children. We pursue this goal through providing grants for innovative initiatives focusing primarily on prevention and wellness, as well as associated educational and scientific research activities.
The State of Children in Memphis & Shelby County was first published in 2006 with the initial purpose of compiling the best available data on children in our community. This 2013 volume continues to track and update the data. It has also become more focused on our community’s youngest children, specifically those under age three.
Touch, Talk, Read, Play
In the first year of life, Baby's brain grows at a remarkable pace. By the time Baby is three, his brain will reach 80 percent of its adult size. That’s why the time from Baby's birth to when he turns three is so important. Early brain development is largely shaped by Baby's environment, as well as his health and wellness. But his brain is wired to learn and you, as parents, can be an active part of his development by these simple, daily habits that don't cost a thing.
Presentations for Community Stakeholders: The Urban Child Institute staff delivers presentations to various community stakeholder audiences to provide information on the critical importance of investing in children in the earliest years of life. Target audiences include professionals, parents and other caregivers, and child care providers. These presentations are delivered at various sites in the community.
Lunch and Learn Presentations: The Urban Child Institute regularly arranges for experts in the field of child development and successful programs and interventions to speak in The Institute’s auditorium. Lunch is provided before the event, and speakers respond to questions following the presentation.
Nurturing Parenting Evaluation Study: The Urban Child Institute is working closely with partners from Early Success Coalition, Porter Leath, Seeding Success, and Shelby County Schools (SCS) to evaluate the incorporation of the Nurturing Parenting curriculum into select SCS pre-kindergarten classrooms and parent meetings. Teachers were trained in the Nurturing Parenting curriculum to infuse positive caregiving practices into classroom interactions with students, while Family Service Workers were trained to deliver the training to parents through monthly meetings. To determine whether an association exists between exposure to the Nurturing Parenting curriculum and changes in parent attitudes, classroom interactions, and/or child behavior or academic achievement, the evaluation will compare child, parent, and teacher outcomes among those exposed to the curriculum to outcomes from a similar cohort of children, parents, and teachers who receive the traditional classroom and parent engagement experience.
Touch Talk Read Play: The Urban Child Institute designed the Touch Talk Read Play (TTRP) initiative to inform and inspire parents and child care providers. Based on what we know from early childhood brain development research, babies and young children need daily doses of nurturing touch, conversational talk, exposure to reading and books, and play time with the most important adults in their lives. TTRP is being implemented in several ways:
- Distribution of materials -- e.g., t-shirts, brochures.
- TTRP workshops for child care providers -- conducted at the Memphis Public Library.
- TTRP workshops and Nurturing Parenting training for parents -- conducted by the Neighborhood Christian Centers.
- Collaborative community outreach efforts:
- WLOK 1340AM -- weekly story time visits to childcare centers.
- LeBonheur Pediatric Specialists clinic -- (1) Funding for the Reach Out And Read program, and (2) TTRP message delivery during well-child visits as part of a Bridging the Word Gap research project.
Books from Birth: The Urban Child Institute has a partnership with Shelby County Books from Birth. The Institute creates monthly tailored messages specifically for participating families, and Books from Birth passes along the information as part of the newsletter it sends to its extensive email list.
What happens during the first years of a child’s life has a huge impact on his future; from his ability to graduate high school and go to college, to relational happiness, to finding a job he loves. How do you make the most of this time?
There’s nothing more inspiring than the idea of big change. Especially when it comes to the future of our city. But what if the most important change Memphis needs is not big, but small? That’s right: baby small.