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Bright Spots

When a Child’s Eyes Light Up, the Brain Lights Up

Vroom-LogoVroom wants to spread the word that there are countless “brain building” opportunities for children throughout the course of each day. Shared moments between parents, caregivers and children nurture children’s growing minds, especially from birth to age 5, the time of most rapid brain development. This sets the foundation for healthy development and all future learning.

Developed by the Bezos Family Foundation, in collaboration with brain scientists, early childhood experts, community organizations and parents themselves, Vroom aims to increase the quality and frequency of rich, responsive interactions between the parent and the child. Working to reach every parent by using a variety of media, Vroom is enlisting “trusted messengers”—community-based organizations, childcare providers, civic partners, medical professionals and other parents—as well as mobile technology and traditional and social media to share this important science. For example, Daily Vroom is a free mobile app available in English and Spanish that provides personalized and age-specific activities for parent-child interaction in a variety of settings, such as mealtime, on the bus or during laundry time. Vroom tips can be found at early learning centers, community centers and social service agencies in the form of tip cards, placemats and posters. Soon one day you may see Vroom tips on everyday consumer products. Vroom’s innovation lies in the fact that it brings cutting-edge science on brain development and early learning to parents in easy, accessible and everyday ways.

The project was piloted in spring 2014 with 47 community partners in five zip codes in South King County, but quickly spread beyond the original geographic boundaries. Parents surveyed at the beginning of the pilot project showed some awareness of their children’s learning milestones, but throughout the course of the pilot, they reported greater engagement with their children and a greater awareness of the signs of a brain at work.

Vroom is now gearing up to reach all of King County and to spread nationwide. The goal: to help parents take full advantage of the brain-building moments that are everywhere.