Why is play important?

Children learn through play. Research has shown that the most brain development occurs in the first five years of life. When a child is consistently provided with a variety of enriched play opportunities during this period of time, there is a much higher chance of success in school.

Dane County Research

Recently it was determined that only 42 percent of children in Dane County had the developmental skills necessary for success in school (United Way Born Learning Mobilization Plan 2008). Due to a variety of risk factors (such as poverty) some families did not have access to activities and resources needed to promote these skillsets. Play and Learn (based on Hawaiian program Tutu and Me) was developed through the Born Learning Delegation of the United Way to address these concerns.


  • To provide free opportunities for children to have experiences which promote brain development and school readiness
  • To allow parents/caregivers the opportunity to participate in free playgroups with their children, learning about developmental needs and parenting skills
  • To provide all families access to free developmental screenings and referrals to Birth to Three when needed
  • To have fun!