DC Spotlight

Say and Play mom with kid

10 Reflections on Say and Play with Words

Say & Play with Words

Say and Play with Words was an amazing program bringing together children and their parents to close the achievement gap. Some of the observations made while working with our wonderful, committed families:


  1. Parents really do want the best for their children. Oftentimes parents are not aware of how much children are capable of. Once they understand the unlimited capacity of their children, the sky is the limit.
  2. Parents have a LOT on their plates these days. A lot of parents are holding down two jobs or working shifts where they get very little sleep. We all know the care and nurturing of their young children does not stop because mom or dad has only had three hours of sleep!
  3. Support from family and friends can make the difference as families try to sustain jobs and school. The thinner your support network, the less likely you are to achieve your goals.
  4. Dads are NOT absent. Dads were present and very active during the cohorts. Attending a recent conference in Orlando, we learned some good strategies for making fathers feel welcome. It’s important to engage them when they are present instead of ignoring them.  Schedule things when dad can attend too, instead of just deferring to mom. These are just a few of the strategies we learned.
  5. Once parents realize their own potential, they seem to be more likely to see potential in their children.
  6. It’s important for parents to make self-care a priority, but without proper support, this does not always happen.
  7. The mental health of our families is very important. Many families have experienced so many events that they are dealing with without access to therapy. Many families do have their children in therapy, but do not realize how much they could benefit from it themselves.
  8. Fun is important! Many families have gotten so bogged down with the everyday responsibilities, fun is something that is often overlooked. Say and Play with Words was a valuable way to put a little fun back into the day.
  9. Sometimes when parents achieve personal goals, it means they have to leave the group. Many parents over time have gone back to school or applied for better jobs. It was disappointing when a parent would get so close to finishing and have to leave, but often it was because they were on the road to achieving a new goal.
  10. For many parents the service learning projects sparked a love for volunteerism and community advocacy.


Note: Submitted by LaKeisha from the Early Childhood and Family Services department. Say and Play with Words completed its 5th Brightmoor cohort in May 2018. Parents interested in learning ways to support language development at home may be eligible for homevisits. Learn more here!