One of the lead singers for the Denver hip-hop band Flobots is the star of a new series of videos meant to help parents give their young children a solid start in life.
In 29 short videos, a conversational Stephen Brackett — sometimes sporting cardigan sweaters and other times colorful bow ties — shares facts about child development and provides parents with tips on everything from bonding with their babies to getting their older children ready for school. A local radio personality, Issa Lopez, provides the same information in a set of Spanish-language videos.
The videos are part of a new campaign by Colorado’s Office of Early Childhood to share the state’s early learning and development guidelines with parents and other caregivers.
The goal is to “make this information come alive as opposed to sitting on a website or a tip sheet,” said Katharine Brenton, a communications contractor for the Office of Early Childhood.
The guidelines, published in 2013, describe what children from birth to 8 should know and be able to do at each stage of early childhood. Colorado is one of the first states to use videos to communicate early learning guidelines to parents.
Brenton said Brackett, a former teacher at several Colorado schools, was asked to participate because of his background in education and his community involvement.
Aside from being a recognizable figure, he’s “someone who has a real heart for the issues,” she said.
Brackett, whose stage name is Brer Rabbit, co-founded the nonprofit Youth on Record, which provides music lessons and production training to at-risk Denver high school students. The Flobots are known for weaving social activism through their music, with songs focusing on everything from immigration reform to climate change.
State officials plan to promote the new videos, along with related online information about the learning and development guidelines, with the help of the state’s 31 early childhood councils and through a paid social media and marketing campaign.
Chalkbeat is a nonprofit news site covering educational change in public schools.