Thanks to WORD PLAY
, a game developed by The Fred Rogers Company, waiting for the bus or riding the light rail system, can be a fun learning experience for children and parents to play together. Colorful WORD PLAY posters are displayed in 23 of Lamar Advertising Company’s transit shelters throughout the City of Pittsburgh and on Port Authority light rail cars.
The campaign started in August with a “Summer Fun” poster theme, featuring images of objects and activities associated with summertime. Continuing through October, the bus shelter posters have a new theme, design and word game to play each month.
A WORD PLAY display running on one of Lamar Advertising Company's Transit Shelters in Pittsburgh.
WORD PLAY’s eye-catching, child-friendly public art offers parents simple prompts which can be starting points for learning and having fun with words, sharing observations, comparing and contrasting pictures and making up stories about them. Parents are also encouraged to use their cell phones to record their children’s stories and ideas about the pictures and share them with family and friends.
“WORD PLAY is based on well-documented research confirming that parent-child communication has a significant impact on the development of a child’s vocabulary, reading skills, self-esteem, imagination, and overall approach to learning,” explains Margy Whitmer, WORD PLAY Project Manager and Media Producer at The Fred Rogers Company. “Through everyday experiences like waiting for the bus or riding the train, playing and learning happen together in WORD PLAY,” she adds.
Originally funded by the Sprout Fund, WORD PLAY was piloted last summer in seven shelters primarily in the City’s East End. Additional funding to continue the project this year was provided by The Grable Foundation and The James F. McCandless Charitable Trust.
Creative tie-ins to local preschool and child care programs are additional elements of the WORD PLAY concept.
A teacher plays WORD PLAY with a group of preschoolers on the South Side. Photo courtesy of WESA, Pittsburgh's NPR News Station.
WORD PLAY reflects the philosophy of the late Fred Rogers, who said, “Learning about language and sounds begins long before kindergarten – when we talk with children, when we tell them the word names for things around us, when we read books to them, we’re building a sturdy foundation for children who will go off to school wanting to learn…about reading and anything else in this world.”
A list of the transit shelter locations and poster images are available at www.fredrogers.org/wordplay
. For more information about WORD PLAY please, contact Margy Whitmer at 412-605-3112.