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Citizen's View: Vroom app turns everyday activities into early brain-building moments

In Oregon, we continue to step up our support for early childhood education.

Gov. Kate Brown and the Legislature have invested $100 million in new funds dedicated to Head Start, mixed delivery preschool, employment-related day care and other important services. They know what science has proven: a child’s development from birth to age 5 is vital to their future.

One important piece of the state’s efforts around early childhood education is a program called Vroom, a national early learning initiative that empowers parents to turn everyday activities into brain-building moments with their children. Vroom was developed by the Bezos Family Foundation with a team of renowned brain scientists and education experts.

Vroom provides a number of free resources to parents, translating the science of brain development during the first five years of life into actionable tips parents can use with their children. Vroom resources, including a Smartphone app called Daily Vroom and numerous tip sheets that visually explain “brain-building moments,” are available in both English and Spanish. The app shares brain-building activities that parents can easily do in the time they already spend with their children.

For example, when brushing their child’s hair, a parent could have a back-and-forth conversation about how their child’s hair compares to others — “Who has hair that is curly like yours?” “Who has hair that is the same color as yours?” This simple exercise encourages children to pay attention to what they see, use their memories and group things into categories, all important pieces in the development of vocabulary and math skills.

Vroom provides the science behind these tips — or “brainy backgrounds” — and how they help develop important observation and communication skills in children.

Oregon’s Early Learning Division is leading the promotion of Vroom throughout the state. There are a number of pilot sites, from Multnomah County to Malheur County and Washington County to Wallowa County. These pilot sites, including the Clackamas Education Service District’s Oregon Head Start Prekindergarten Program, are work-ing hard to share Vroom with parents in their communities, with a particular focus on immigrant families and families of


There are currently 16 pilot sites that range from Early Learning Hubs to Head Start programs and community organizations, including Education Service Districts, health care organizations and others, to ensure that parents everywhere have access to Vroom. To learn more, please visit the Early Learning Division’s webpage at oregonearlylearning.com/vroom.

To sign up for the Vroom app or to view other Vroom materials, check out the Vroom webpage at http://www.joinvroom.org.

Megan Irwin is the early learning system director for the state of Oregon.


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