Early Learning Meetups
Early Learning Meetups

The Early Learning Meetup Group brings together network members to further develop the regional research agenda for early childhood development and imporve messaging related to local early learning opportunities.

In Case You Missed It

Because Ken Smythe-Leistico is simply wonderful, you can find the slides he used in his presentation here, but as you know, there is more to a Remake Learning Meetup than just the data.

Here’s what we heard:

  • The Office of Child Development is always looking for ways to apply research and theory to practice
    • The OoCD uses literature and findings as a guide for the practice to work with families
    • They also see the process in which schools and programs engage families and children as an important return to what they can deliver in the classroom
  • Ever heard of Ready Freddy? Well, did you know that Ken is the mastermind behind that? Impressive!
    • Ready Freddy helps school-based communities celebrate the first day of kindergarten
    • Parents and families come to join the party that is the first day of school and encourage our young pioneers to celebrate learning
    • The Ready Freddy program is now in 25 states!
  • The Connect Text data is an offshoot of the enthusiasm surrounding the Ready Freddy work

How could you not be enthusiastic about a community loving frog?

What else did we hear?

Practitioners were more resistant to the digital-world communication than the participating parents as a modality to build connections– fascinating!

But really, will human connections be made by texting? The study seems to think so! Particularly with photo introductions; just make it more personal. Also, the anonymity of texting allows for inter-personal relationships to share the tough stuff families are often resistant to reveal to schools.

And student absences? There was a 25% reduction!

So what’s next?

  • A bigger study, and looking for districts to take part in this work
    • Moving into pre-K (in addition to K & 1st)
  • There is an abundance of work being done nationally around changing behavior through text messaging (not just in early learning)


  • There are lots of text-communication platforms (like Remind), so why Signal Vine?
    • Less in the backend in that was useful in other platforms
    • Simply, Lindsey Page (in DE) uses it and she is happy with it and they negotiated the rate
  • Sensing a lot of the success had to do with Jesse, the AmeriCorps member helping to operate the functionality of the platform. What is this role in the future?
    • There is lots of interest nationally.
    • Staff opportunity to build relationships with youth, but this is an aspect that needs further testing

What about you? What are YOU working on? We’d love to hear from you.

Don’t Miss Out

Is it networking? Is it continuation of practice? Is it extended learning? Is it just a nice way to spend two hours? We hope it’s all of those things! Don’t miss these opportunities to practice and discuss our craft– LEARNING

  • The next Remake Maker Learning Meetup is June 22 with the Green and Healthy Schools Academy. Register!
  • After that, stay tuned for the next Remake Digital Media and Learning Meetup in July (details TBD).
  • Later in August, the Remake STEAM Meetup with Project ENGIN at the Shaler School District.

And Now for the Updates!

  • What’s Up at The Sprout Fund?
    • Change Machine: Under 18? Apply for a $500 Change Machine Project!
    • Remake Learning Grants: Small-scale funding awards to catalyze innovative learning projects that inspire educators and students to explore new ways of teaching and learning. Grants are available up to $10,000. Decisions are made twice annually to support summer/fall and winter/spring activities in Pittsburgh, Southwestern Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. The deadline is October 7!
    • Learn PGH: Stay tuned this spring for more information about digital badging in Pittsburgh this summer. Join the mailing list to ease your mind at remakelearning.org or get in touch with Tricia at The Sprout Fund.
    • One Northside: Do you live, work, learn, or play in the Northside? Find out more about upcoming One Northside grants every Monday evening in June


  • Add yourself or your organization to the Remake Learning Network Directory. Just find the button in the top right corner of the screen and “Add”
  • What’s on your mind? Have you found a common thread from Meetup to Meetup? Let me know, we should talk about it!
    • Care to Host a Meetup or a Lunch & Learn? Let me know! Sprout is happy to buy food, recruit attendees, and help organize the agenda.

Share, Tweet, & Repeat! Social Media helps us stay in touch and share the wealth. You can find us & other Meetup members by using @remakelearning #RMLMeetups

Early Learning Meetup with the Pitt Office of Child Development was last modified: May 27th, 2016 by Arielle Evans