Learn about Vroom, a free tool designed to stimulate parent-child interactions with brain building activities. Created by the Bezos Family Foundation in partnership with the Center for the Developing Child at Harvard University, the app is for parents and educators and now offers a new texting service.

This segment features Ari Wubbold, the Vroom coordinator for the Oregon Department of Education Early Learning Division.

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Quotes from the Q&A

0:34 Vroom was created by “the Bezos family foundation along with neuroscientists… with over 1,000 brain-building interactions you can do with your kids.”

1:00 “In 2014 we met with the Bezos Family Foundation … and wanted to include it in Oregon. In 2015, we put a plan in place to put it out statewide … particularly those families who are furthest from opportunity. So we’ve reached out to Head Start programs, tribal group, teen parent programs, migrant education groups, those sorts of programs.”

1:46 Families and early childhood professionals can access Daily Vroom through an App. “The way that it works is you simply enter the age of your child and their first name and you start receiving activities immediately.” The web site also has tons of resources in English, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Vietnamese and other languages: www.joinvroom.org. You can also visit OregonEarlyLearning.com/vroom to see what parnters around the state use Vroom.

3:03 There’s also a texting service that rolled out this year. “Our goal is to reach as many families as possible. A lot of families don’t have a smartphone … so we want to make it available in other ways.” To receive activities via text, text CHILD to 48258 or to receive in Spanish, text HIJO to 48258.

4:23 All of the activities are designed to empower. “There’s nothing on there that’s going to judge a parent or tell you that you’re doing something wrong.”

5:19 “All you do is give (Vroom) your child’s age and first name … and you’ll start receiving activities that are age appropriate for your kid.” If you’re doing laundry, at the dentist office or in the grocery store, you can choose activities that would be a good fit in that location. As your child grows, the app adjusts the activities to suit their age range.

7:17 “My goal has been, as the coordinator, is to put this tool in the hands of as many families as possible so they can make that decision. Being a parent is tough … so something that’s free and that you can take with you on the go is helpful.”

7:47 A lot of parents don’t want to put a screen in front of their kids. But with Vroom, you read the activity on your phone, then put the phone down and interact.

9:26 “The biggest benefit for early childhood professionals is just the amount of content that’s available. If you go on Vroom’s website, there are playbooks on how to incorporate it into the classroom. For teachers, it’s the same as parents – you’re looking for content and resources.”

11:00 What’s next for Vroom in Oregon? “We have a partnership with a group called FIND at University of Oregon … they film interactions between a parent and child then review those interactions. We’re looking at working with them on a long-term study to incorporate Vroom in those interactions.”

12:00 They also incorporated Vroom at a correctional facility’s Head Start program. The mothers who used it felt more confident in their ability to parent their children.

Everyone has what it takes to be a Brain Builder!


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