This blog is about ways for moms and dads to talk more to our babies and toddlers. We start with a strategy we call Say-What-You-See. Say-what-you-see does not involve more time, just more words. We are in the process of writing a series of workbooks on different strategies for parents, home visitors, doctors, and personnel at day care centers to increase the vocabularies of the children they care for. Three moms, who also work in day care, will share our ideas, and we invite you to share yours.
Author and Creator
Tammy Steele has three grandchildren, ages 4, 2, and 7 months old. She lives in downtown Chicago, in the same building they do. She has an M.Ed. from National Louis University in Early Childhood Education and is currently a retired educator/consultant who has fifteen years experience working as an educator/consultant under a variety of grants with Chicago Public Schools. She has worked as a facilitator and mentor in many early childhood/day care centers, as well as, arts-integrated curriculum development projects.
Daphne Sajous-Brady Consultant
Daphne Sajous-Brady is the mother of two girls and holds three degrees (B.S., M.A., and Ph.D.) from the Northwestern University Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, and the focus of her studies has been on language development, reading, written language, and learning disabilities. Over nearly 20 years she has taught in school settings as a learning resource teacher including an American accredited school in her home country of Haiti. She has been a Lecturer and a Clinic Supervisor at the Northwestern University Speech, Language, and Learning Clinic and the Director of Student Support at the Ancona School and Wolcott School.
Tommy Henley grew up at the Carole Robertson Center for Learning and worked under the Director, Tracey Young for six years. Tommy holds his B.A. in Spanish Education and M.A. in Latin American Literature and Culture. He is also certified by the Illinois State Board of Education in the following areas: Bilingual Education – Spanish (PK-12) and Foreign Language – Spanish (PK-12). Along with being a Spanish Teacher for Heritage and Non-Heritage Spanish Speakers, he teaches courses at Truman College to both current and pre-service teachers in the areas of bilingual education, classroom management and language acquisition. Prior to completing his undergraduate degree, he helped the staff, teachers and parents at the Carole Robertson Center for Learning to develop, evaluate and design the Dual Language program. Currently, Tommy is the School Director at Christopher House, an Early Childhood Education School that serves at-risk, and underrepresented children and families.
Senior Director for Early Learning Programs
Marillac St. Vincent de Paul Family Services
Tracey Young has an M.Ed. from Erikson Institute. She has coached and mentored teachers, parents and children from birth to twelve years old for the last 18 years in North Lawndale and Little Village in Chicago. She began her career as a literacy coordinator and is now the Senior Director of Early Learning Programs for Marillac St. Vincent Family Services in the East Garfield neighborhood of Chicago. She has taught literacy courses at Kendall College and Daley College.
After twenty years of classroom teaching, Dinneen-White chose to spread her wings by creating an innovative and mobile family literacy outreach group. Dinneen-White and her band of Play Coaches connect with moms at pop-up play parties all over Chicago’s south side. At libraries, shelters, Head Start and Family Literacy Sites, they invite babies, toddlers and preschoolers, and their parents to play. Their play is informed by literacy activities like say-what-you-see. In addition to meeting face to face for literacy-informed play, Dinneen-White has added multiple touchpoints to connect with those moms again using technology. #TalkandPlay and PlaySmartLiteracy.org offer moms the chance to share their play-smart-literacy experiences on-line. Moms are rewarded with books and toys for visiting the website and sharing or video-taping a play date at home. They can also connect on instagram, e-mail or by replying to Remind texting. In addition to sharing valuable literacy experiences, moms can find other valuable parenting play ideas on Play Smart’s Pinterest boards.
Talk to Me Mama is proud to partner with Play Smart Literacy. During the winter of 2019-20 we have made joint presentations at national conferences in Louisville, Nashville, and Chicago on the value of language-informed play for infants and toddlers later academic and personal success.