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Text Messages Supporting the Education and Wellness of Children and their Caregivers

Bright by Text equips parents and caregivers with tips and activities to support at-home learning and reduce learning inequities.

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Tell us about your idea

Bright by Text is a nationwide text messaging service that helps parents/caregivers of children prenatal to age eight make the most of everyday interactions. Through free tips, information, games and resources, Bright by Text is proven to build nurturing caregiver-child relationships, strengthen families, promote healthy child development, and improve school readiness. Each week, parents receive three to five text messages, tailored to the age of their child, in either English or Spanish. Bright by Text aggregates evidence-based content from early childhood experts that includes STEM, early literacy, brain development, social-emotional health, nutrition, and more. During the COVID-19 crisis we have been distributing the latest recommendations and information from trusted voices in early childhood like the AAP and CDC. For instance we sent the following message, “Are play dates okay these days? What about seeing grandparents? Pediatricians from the AAP have advice. Spoiler alert: many answers are no.” with a link to the most current guidelines on the AAP website. 

Bright by Text is uniquely positioned to offer an educational curriculum via text message to motivate learning and creativity from home, healthy habits, physical activities and more. We have developed a unique community messaging service for our partners across the country that can send relevant information to families in specific zip codes. Examples of these messages include “Join us for Littlest Learners @ Home--all about sustainability with children 0-3 and their caregivers. Check out our Facebook or webpage!”; “Peep and the Big Wide World gives wings to the innovative idea of teaching science and math to preschoolers at home:”. Partners across the country are leveraging this tool to promote remote learning resources from public libraries, children’s museums, public broadcasting networks and more. 

Bright by Text is committed to increasing equality and diversity in our programs, partnerships, and organizational practices to break down systemic inequities. Bright by Text is a free, universal program offered in English and Spanish designed to be accessible for any caregiver; however, we prioritize reaching disadvantaged populations coping with inequities including low-income families, Family, Friend and Neighbor (FFN) caregivers and rural communities. We leverage public data overlays to track programmatic impact in communities with at-risk populations. Currently 58% of the families we serve nationwide live in areas that are considered low-income and nearly half live in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs). According to an independent study conducted by Bright by Text and Marzano Research Laboratory, 86% of text recipients experience at least one risk factor for an early childhood developmental delay. We strive to reduce overall inequities among minority and at-risk populations with our programs which are available for free to any parent or caregiver.

We conduct internal surveys and outside evaluation to gauge our program’s impact among families. Bright by Text is proven to increase caregiver confidence, competence and connection. Evaluation results include:

  • 95% of caregivers indicate that Bright by Text helped them feel more confident and informed about their child’s development

  • 93% of caregivers indicate that Bright by Text prompted them to do something with their child and that this behavior increases and improves over time when we compare our 1-month and 6-month survey results

  • 3-month language gain among low-income Bright by Text families vs. matched comparison group

  • 34% of caregivers who received a message about a local event or resource reported attending an event or utilizing a nearby resource as a result of Bright by Text

What part(s) of the pre-COVID school system do you wish to leave in the past? Why?

While this is an extremely challenging time for parents and caregivers, we view remote learning as an opportunity for families to become more involved in their child’s education and emotional health. Our service began as a birth to three program with tips for the youngest generation. Since founding Bright by Text in 2014, both parents and organizations we partner with have asked for additional content spanning to age 8 as well as for prenatal families. We hope that remote learning environments of the COVID school system improves the role of parents and caregivers throughout their child’s education and childhood.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to share this idea.

One of the biggest issues facing families right now are a lack of equity when considering digital education and home learning. As children are asked to join Zoom classrooms, many at-risk families don’t own a computer or need their only computer to do work of their own. Our relationship with PBS and other online education providers allows us to send their expert resources via text message so parents and caregivers can access information on their cell phones. According to Pew Research, 96% of Americans owned a cell phone in 2019. Bright by Text is able to close equity gaps to make at-home learning more accessible during the COVID-19 crisis. Across the world, organizations are still learning how to manage this crisis and find long term solutions that can accommodate the future of remote learning in a post pandemic world. At Bright by Text, we are proud to develop and deliver an impactful program that is accessible and available to all families in a remote learning environment. 

What region are you located in?

  • North America

Where are you located?

Denver, CO


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