The Children’s Museum of Tacoma is one of three organizations out of a pool of 30 applicants who have received a grant from Washington State’s Council for Children and Families to deliver child abuse prevention programs.

The $105,000 grant will allow the museum, in partnership with A Step Ahead Pierce County, to expand its free Play to Learn program to two additional sites. The program is focused on educating parents and caregivers of children ages 1-5 who have a disability or are in low-income families.

Program instructors connect adults and children through play activities, modeling engagement techniques and providing tools to help adults build positive relationships with their children. The program will increase parental nurturing and attachment, as well as improve knowledge of parenting and child development.

The inclusive sessions of Play to Learn will serve 60 parents and 60 children, for a total of 120 participants each year and 360 over the three year grant period.

The multiple year contract is for $50,000 in year one. Subsequent years will require additional application for $35,000 in the second year and $20,000 in the third year.

Since its inception in fall 2008, Play to Learn has served over 37,000 parents, caregivers and children. The Museum has surveyed adult participants and learned that:

• 94 percent increased their knowledge of age-appropriate expectations.

• 95 percent now feel play is more important in their child’s learning.

• 92 percent feel more confident parenting/caring for their child.

• 98 percent more frequently view play as an important way to connect with their child.

• 86 percent have accessed a community resource they discovered through Play to Learn.