Project Summary

The Born Learning Academy model has proven to be an effective way to engage parents and teach them about their young children’s development. The program has also been successful in building a relationship between parents and school personnel well before the child is enrolled in school.

The Academy – a series of six workshops – teaches parents and caregivers of children (ages 0-5) how to turn everyday moments into learning opportunities with easy, fun action steps that they can use every day as they interact with their children.

Academies were held at LaSalle Elementary School in Mishawaka and Harrison Primary Center in South Bend. School staff reached out to parents they felt would benefit from the workshops.

Junior League of South Bend provided $17,000 in program funding and all volunteers.


Program Impact

Academies took place in an elementary school setting. If families are engaged in positive interactions in the school setting before school even begins, they are more likely to feel welcomed and remain engaged. Children are also more likely to be ready for kindergarten when parents, schools, and communities work together to meet the needs of the child.

Although we did administer a pre- and post-test supplied in the Born Learning materials kit, the testing materials proved to be ineffective and success was measured anecdotally through conversations with school staff, volunteers, and families.

Families indicated that they did learn ways to make everyday occurrences – such as a trip to the grocery store or a ride in a car – learning opportunities for their children and did so after the workshops.


Overall Successes

The families that did return each week reported how excited their children were to attend each week and how useful the information was. Several families had not been involved in other school functions/activities so the Academies were a great opportunity to build relationships with them. As weeks progressed families became more interactive with one another, making it easier to fill time and for families to offer up their own input or experiences as examples in relation to weekly content.