Forget Mozart CDs and Baby Einstein videos, Boston’s mayor is urging parents to teach preschool children the old-fashioned way: by talking, reading, and playing with them.

Hoping to turn a new page on early-childhood education in Boston, Mayor Thomas M. Menino declared today as “Talk, Read, Play Day” in conjunction with Boston public schools’ Countdown to Kindergarten program and ReadBoston.

**The day is part of a new public awareness campaign focused on the role of parents and their responsibility as their child’s “first teacher,” from birth until age 5.

Menino said the day’s purpose is to remind parents of the simple but often overlooked ways they can improve their child’s education before formal schooling begins.

“As parents, we have a responsibility to provide our children with enriching activities from a young age because their education begins at birth, not when they enter their first classroom,” the mayor said yesterday in a statement.

The program’s three components of interaction meld to give babies and toddlers essential skills. Talking, reading, and playing help young children develop longer attention spans, larger vocabularies, and proper social interactions as well as foster creativity, imagination, and problem-solving skills, Menino said.**

“Talk, Read, Play” is part of Thrive in 5, Boston’s new 10-year plan, spearheaded by Menino and the United Way, to ensure Boston children are prepared for educational success.

The program, implemented in March after two years of planning and $3.25 million in funding from the city, the United Way, and area hospitals, highlights the importance of a child’s first five years in five areas of growth: language development, cognition and general knowledge, approaches to learning, social and emotional development, and physical and motor development.

Source: Boston Globe, United States