The Children’s Center of New Milford welcomes all children – regardless of family income – in its early childhood education and childcare programs.

Nearly one half of the students enrolled in the Center’s programs for children 3 months to 8 years old are from low income households. Knowing that these kids are less likely to enter school with the skills they need to learn to read, the Center’s staff is always thinking about creative ways to boost literacy skills. With grant support from the Connecticut Community Foundation’s LitLinks program, the Center created a Music and Early Literacy program that introduces children to music, which research shows is a developmentally appropriate and effective way to develop a child’s vocabulary and ability to understand language.

“At the Children’s Center, we are committed to preparing children for future success in public schools and developing pre-reading skills is an integral part of that. There is a great deal of research on the positive correlation between music and language development among young children and this program makes it all come to life. These kids are having fun – they’re singing, moving, rhyming and interacting with their instructor and each other” comments Susan Johnston, Executive Director at the Center. Since the program began in 2013, the children have shown tremendous improvement in early literacy skills. One year into the program, rhyming detection and production increased by over 50%, syllable recognition increased by 40%, and identification of the initial sounds of words increased by 40%.

Ellen Carter, Director of Community Leadership at Connecticut Community Foundation explains, “The LitLinks Program is a special initiative established by CCF to increase the number of children reading on grade level by age 8. The Music and Early Literacy Skills program at Children’s Center of New Milford is a fine example of an organization working creatively to bolster literacy skills in a fun, developmentally appropriate way.” Ensuring that today’s children are armed with the literacy skills they need to succeed in the future – Timeless Impact.