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Unfortunately, due to attendance and interest, the Stay-N-Play pilot has been suspended. Our Healthy Starts Team will gather more data to help support new initiatives to serve families with children from 0-5 years. We thank all of our providers for continuing to provide play sessions. Please see the details about the Stay-N-Play Pilot below! Stay tuned for more initiatives coming soon! 


Research conducted by the American Educational Research Association (Donald Hernandez), indicates that 3rd grade reading level predicts high school graduation; that a child’s 3rd grade reading level is predicted by their vocabulary by age 3; and that a child’s vocabulary is predicted by early learning experiences well before their first word is spoken. Parents/Caregivers have an important role that impacts vocabulary development for young children. Yet, children from lower-income families hear a staggering 30 million fewer words than children from higher income families. This word gap puts children from lower-income families at a significant disadvantage by the time they enter kindergarten. 

Our team recognizes it is critical that a parent/caregiver talks, sings, and reads to children every day from birth to develop language skills for their future reading success. Our goal is for all families with children ages 0-5 to have the resources they need to ensure their children excel in school.

Stay-N-Play Pilot Phase I

Based on data recieved from the Rockford Housing Authority, there are currently 19 families residing at The Grove at Keith Creek. This location was identified because there are currently not sufficient early childhood programs to those who reside at this location. Many families are not willing or unable to sign up for home visiting programs due to work schedules or personal concerns. The Stay-N-Play Pilot offers learning play sessions for parent/child interaction for these families in a safe, familiar place. These sessions also act as an introduction to other early childhood services and resources. 

In addition to providing playgroups, the team is working to develop comfortable, trusting relationships between families and providers. Each playgroup is facilitated by a provider that has been vetted through the A-Team. Providers will arrive on their scheduled day and administer parent/child interaction activities including: book share, dental hygiene, infant massage, exercise, nutrition, self and child soothing, music and games, etc. 


The first phase of the pilot was measured by short term outcomes. At the end of the first phase: 

0 %
of families in attendance reported that they enjoyed the playgroup activities.
0 %
of families participating in 50% or more of the playgroups report that they are more actively engaged with their children.

Stay-N-Play Pilot Phase II

In the second phase of the Stay-N-Play Pilot, the team was approved to scale up to the families at Fairgrounds, another Rockford Housing Authority property. Playgroups continue at The Grove but now include Fairgrounds in a new schedule every other Friday at each location. 

We’ve just finished the first session of Phase II and had a great turn out. Our next sessions will include the rest of the school year – January to May – Come back after to see how we did! Thank you to all our providers and volunteers who helped facilitate these playgroups!