Taking Sing, Sign, Laugh and Learn to Families
Edmonton Public Library
EPL’s Sing, Sign, Laugh and Learn (SSLL), is a highly successful early literacy program offered in partnership with health professionals since 2005 to enhance communication and social connection in young children. EPL expanded offerings in the community through partnerships to target families at greatest risk of negative impacts of COVID-19.
EPL’s Sing, Sign, Laugh and Learn (SSLL), is designed to improve outcomes for children of all abilities. In 2022, EPL and its partners in education, health, and learning identified a need for free and inclusive early literacy programming for children 0-3 to alleviate developmental delays, social isolation and parental stress caused by the pandemic. SSLL was popular and highly regarded, thus well-situated to respond. The challenge was to mobilize quickly and target delivery to families with demonstrated need.
Key Elements of Innovation
Six staff skilled in SSLL formed a dedicated mobile team. Each staff was outfitted with all supplies required to lead multiple classes a day in the community. Staff worked independently at community agencies to offer the program where socially vulnerable families felt comfortable, making the program more accessible. In addition, the team led extra classes in branches and coached staff to develop skills which increased capacity to deliver early literacy programming across the city.
Between August and December, 809 additional SSLL offerings (equating to a 55% increase), including nine new sites in high-risk areas. 9860 parents and children participated noting a 99% satisfaction rating, valuing the high quality and positive impact on language and social development. Families appreciated the increased number and location of SSLL offerings. The pilot’s success secured funding for the ongoing expansion of the program through the City budget process.