Play and Learn Groups

Play and Learn groups are designed to help parents and other caregivers of children birth to 3 prepare their children for school success through participation in activities that support children's development.

Adult-child play sessions are held twice a week. Parents and caregivers receive coaching in play activities that support children’s learning and development. Activities include reading, singing and writing with children, pretend play and activities that encourage muscle development.  Adults also learn what kinds of interactions with children promote social-emotional development.

Parent/Caregiver meetings are held monthly. Parents and caregivers receive information about child development, parenting topics, and community resources for children and families.

Family support services assist participants in accessing community services based on individual needs, such as health services, ESL classes, and recreation and cultural opportunities. When children become age-eligible, families receive encouragement and assistance to enroll their children in a high-quality preschool program.

Play and Learn is supported by a grant from the Mile High United Way School Readiness Initiative. Currently, Play and Learn groups are active in three high-need neighborhoods in Denver.  For more information, please contact Lynn Andrews,

A Play and Learn Story

Claudia, a mother and caregiver for another child, has attended a Play and Learn group in the Cole neighborhood for about a year. On this day, her 2 ½ year-old daughter Melanie approached Claudia as she was playing with Ruby, the other child in her care. Melanie whined that she wanted her mother to leave what she was doing with Ruby and play with her.  Claudia responded, “I know you are upset and want me to come with you right now, but I have to keep Ruby safe.  I will be with you in two minutes. Start thinking about where you want to play while I find someone to care for Ruby.” Claudia smiled and hugged Melanie, who reluctantly took off to the writing center, where she independently started her play-work while waiting for her mother.  Another parent in the group offered to take Ruby and Claudia joined Melanie as promised. By the time Claudia arrived, Melanie was calm; and the eyes that once held tears were smiling. Later that morning, Melanie engaged Ruby in shared play. Supporting Melanie to play independently and cooperatively with other children were skills that Claudia hoped she would learn when they joined Play and Learn.  Before joining Play and Learn, Claudia was uncertain she could meet both Melanie’s and Ruby’s needs. Now, Claudia’s acknowledgement of her daughter’s feelings and the promise of one-on-one time provided Melanie with the security to create and explore on her own, allowing Claudia to attend to Ruby as well.