Jul 21, 2023
Goodwill Industries of West Michigan (GIWM) is partnering with the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District (OAISD) to create in-store learning opportunities for young children in three Ottawa County Goodwill retail store locations.
“Talking is Teaching” is a national public awareness and action campaign that helps parents recognize their power to boost their children’s early brain and vocabulary development through simple, everyday actions — like describing things while walking outside, singing songs together during bath time, or shopping at a Goodwill store!
This innovative project helps families integrate early literacy into everyday activities and is currently unique to West Michigan. The initiative began in the fall of 2021 through Goodwill’s partnership with the Great Start Collaborative of Muskegon Area ISD (MAISD) and the early childhood initiative of the Clinton Foundation, Too Small to Fail.
“Ottawa Area ISD is excited to work with Goodwill Industries of West Michigan to expand this program and help shoppers learn to use everyday moments as teaching moments,” OAISD Early Childhood Department Great Start Collaborative Coordinator-Ottawa Heather Eizenga, said. “Teaching parents to ‘Talk While You Shop,’ encourages language growth and interaction and helps build a foundation for children to become strong readers.”
Bi-lingual “learning adventure cards” lead children on a scavenger hunt throughout participating stores. Parents can engage with their children while they shop by interacting with the campaign’s colorful floor decals, rack signs, posters, and wall graphics. Visiting children and parents are also offered a free book to take home.
“Goodwill wholeheartedly supports the Talking is Teaching initiative in our participating retail stores throughout West Michigan,” President and CEO of Goodwill Industries of West Michigan Jeanette Hoyer, said. “We are excited to expand these learning adventure opportunities into our Ottawa County stores thanks to our new partnership with OAISD.”
To celebrate, a Launch Party event is planned for Thursday, July 27 from 9:45 to 11:00 a.m. at the Goodwill Holland store located at 393 E. Lakewood Blvd. The event will feature a brief ceremony at 9:45 a.m., refreshments, tours, giveaways, and literacy resource information. The event is free and open to the public.
In addition to the Holland-Lakewood store, the Talking is Teaching partnership with Ottawa Area ISD also includes the following Goodwill stores:
Goodwill stores participating in the Talking is Teaching initiative through a partnership with the Muskegon Area ISD include:
Newaygo County Great Start, through Newaygo County Regional Educational Service Agency (RESA), recently joined the partnership and will work with Goodwill of West Michigan to add two Newaygo County Goodwill stores this fall.
This project was funded by the Preschool Development Grant B-5 awarded by the Michigan Department of Education Office of Great Start.