• Supportive environments in the early years have positive effects on development for many, many years.
• The adults in children's lives make the biggest difference in their learning and thriving.
• Parents are children's first teachers. We can help parents take advantage of naturally occurring opportunities to promote language development and learning.
• Children with disabilities and children developing typically learn very well together. All of our materials support a range of developmental levels and inclusive environments.
Learning during the preschool years builds the foundation for success in school. Our programs show educators and parents ways to "power-up" everyday interactions with young children to promote language development, literacy, and learning. Our programs are used by early childhood educators, speech/language pathologists, special educators, libraries, parent-educators, nurses, home-visitors, universities, colleges, and parents.
Washington Learning Systems LLC was founded in 2004 by Ms. Mary Maddox and Dr. Kevin Cole.
Ms. Maddox received her Master's degree in Early Childhood Special Education from the University of Washington in 1979. She has worked in the areas of state and federal policy, service integration, professional development, and research in special education. Before founding Washington Learning Systems, she was a Senior Researcher at Washington Research Institute (1991-2001) in Seattle, Washington.
Kevin Cole, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, received his PhD in Early Childhood Special Education from the University of Washington (1984) and his Master's Degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Portland State University. Kevin conducted research at the Experimental Education Unit at the University of Washington where he also served as the Principal of the school. He joined Washington Research Institute as a Senior Researcher in 1989. His research interests include early language and literacy, cognitive referencing, and the differential effects of early childhood curricula.
Mary and Kevin's children have taught them more than all of the coursework in child development.
Language is the Key has been an eye-opener here in the Midwest, helping parents and teachers see that HOW we read with young children is every bit as important as HOW OFTEN we read with them.