UW|360: "No Gadgets Required"

The television program UW|360 explores how online resources developed by I-LABS help parents and other caregivers put research into practice during everyday interactions with children.

    Photo caption: A screenshot of the UWTV program UW|360's episode that profiles the I-LABS outreach team's online training modules.

"All the latest research is really telling us that kids are learning just so much in their earliest moments," Sarah Roseberry Lytle, I-LABS director of outreach and education, told UW|360.

The television program's segment titled "No Gadgets Required" runs just under three minutes (watch it below) and explains how children don't need fancy toys or other elaborate gadgets to develop language, cognitive, social-emotional and other skills. Rather, children under age 5 learn best from the people around them.

But how can parents and others working with children make the most of this built-in learning tool? The video segment shows how the I-LABS outreach modules provide straightforward, research-based advice in how to nurture children through everyday interactions. UW|360, a magazine-style television program, came to I-LABS in September to interview Roseberry Lytle about her role in leading the development of I-LABS' outreach modules.

                    Photo caption: Sarah Roseberry Lytle, I-LABS director of outreach and education, is interviewed at the institute by UW|360.

"We really believe that parents want the best for their children and they're hungry for information about early childhood development," said Amee Barlet, a program specialist for the national nonprofit Save the Children, in the UW|360 segment. She is part of Save the Children's program Early Steps to School Success, which aims to improve literacy skills among children living in poverty.

Barlet has used the I-LABS modules in her work with families living in rural communities in Washington state where it is hard to access research findings. With the I-LABS modules being free and online, she said, people anywhere can tap into the expert advice.

"Raising happy healthy children is really about relationships, and the I-LABS modules talk about relationships," Barlet said. It's practical "things you can do as a parent, grandparent or teacher that help a child in the context of a relationship."  

For instance, parents can sing the ABC's while changing their child's diaper and narrate the steps for cooking while preparing dinner.

There are five modules so far tackling topics such as the importance of early interactions, learning through imitation, and understanding emotions. Roseberry Lytle and the rest of the I-LABS outreach team will ultimately compile about 50 modules over the next few years.

Each module is about 20 minutes long and includes short videos, diagrams and other visuals to help explain the research about how to nurture child development, including language, cognitive and social-emotional skills. Have a topic you want to suggest as a module? Email the I-LABS outreach team: ilabsout@uw.edu.