Learning Through Play (LTP) is an information and training program for parents of young children (aged birth to 6 years). It is delivered to parents by trained community members. The 10-session program is delivered in a group format in order to stimulate discussion.
Key resources and training materials are included in pictorial developmental calendars for children aged birth to 3 years and 3 to 6 years. There is also a LTP Parent Group Leader Training Manual and video, and a Parent Group Leader’s Guide. Separate calendars are available for children 0 to 3 years and 3 to 6 years.
Parents and caregivers are encouraged to hang the calendars on the wall of their home for quick reference. The calendars depict simple activities they can do with their children to stimulate and facilitate each area of their child’s development, while illustrating the developmental milestones a child should achieve. The activities correspond to the different developmental periods of a child, and include an explanation of why the activity is important to each period. The calendars clearly illustrate how children develop from birth to six years across five areas: Sense of Self, Physical Development, Relationships, Understanding, and Communication. The calendars emphasize that each developmental area is equally important and that there is significant interaction between them as a child develops. Throughout the calendar, the importance of play to each stage of child development is emphasized.
Although the concepts discussed in the calendar can be challenging to understand, simple language has been used so that those seeing or reading it can easily grasp them. The short explanations are written in the child’s voice to reinforce the message. The LTP program has a multicultural focus and the illustrations represent a broad cultural mix by attempting to capture the diverse cultural community in which participants live. This, and the 35 different translations available, make it accessible to a wide variety of people. The flexibility of the LTP program is evidenced by its use in diverse contexts, from refugee camps and conflict settings to over 300 programs in Canada itself.