Learning Landscapes encompasses several sub-projects by UB to transform everyday spaces in Brownsville into fun, engaging, opportunities for learning, bonding, and child development. Our vision is for the neighborhood itself to become a children’s museum.
In late January of 2020, Learning Landscapes launched in the Food Bazaar and Cherry Valley supermarkets. This project was inspired by the “Talking is Teaching” campaign of the Clinton Foundation’s Too Small to Fail initiative. Our process involved collaboration with local designers of color, families from Brownsville, and the Clinton Foundation to customize signage that transformed the supermarket experience into a two-generational learning scavenger hunt.
Unfortunately, the original incarnation of Learning Landscapes was discontinued due to the covid-19 pandemic. UB is planning to relaunch the project in grocery stores in 2022.
In the meantime, UB has embarked on two other Learning Landscapes projects:
Learning Landscapes @ Home
This project developed in response to the coronavirus pandemic and the needs of families with young children to fin ways to support their children’s learning and development at home, without screens. It involved crowdsourcing dozens of learning activity ideas from local families, creation of family-friendly text in English and Spanish describing those activities, and a design process led by the Family Advisory Board and a Black-owned design firm.
In 2021, UB began distributing thousands of Learning Landscapes @Home kits that consist of activity cards, books, and arts and crafts supplies to local families directly and through our Provider Action Team.
Ruth Horry is now distributing Learning Landscapes @Home kits every Friday from 3-5pm at the Greg Jackson Center in Brownsville. If you are interested in receiving a Learning Landscapes @Home kit for yourself or your clients for free, e-mail [email protected], and she will arrange it with you.
WNET Learning Neighborhoods
A new partnership with WNET to bring educational programming to spaces in Brownsville. Learn more on WNET’s website.
Learning Landscapes @Home (2021-2022)
Learning Landscapes @ Food Bazaar (2020)
From 2019-2021, UB ran the Family Co-Op as a two-generational program for infants/toddlers and their caregivers that brought free, fun, and educationally-enriching weekend programming to underutilized spaces, and which moved online in March 2020.
It was inspired by work piloted by Scholastic Education, the Yale Child Study Center, and the community of Grundy County, TN. The Family Co-Op was designed to build skills, reduce the isolation reported by many parents of young children, and counteract negative narratives by starting with the question “What would you like to celebrate about Brownsville?
In 2022, UB will relaunch the Parent Corner feature of the Family Co-Op as a standalone, virtual gathering space for parents to build community and support each other through common struggles.
Books for Brownsville
Books for Brownsville is a service-provider training initiative inspired by the practices of Reach Out and Read and other early childhood literacy initiatives.
Service providers who participate in the trainings will put the methods developed by Books for Brownsville into practice along with books, literacy materials, and other resources, to be distributed to the families they serve. Participating providers will also have access to mini-grants for supplies and materials that will transform their work spaces into family-friendly learning opportunities.
The research roundtables of families and professionals that will kick off the training development process will form the basis for a community of practice that will continue beyond the initial planning stages. Books for Brownsville will identify appropriate leaders, conveners, and partners to lead the Books for Brownsville community of practice via regular coordination meetings, thereby institutionalizing opportunities to enhance connectivity and strengthen relationships between and among local residents and providers.