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Message from Me

Digital tool supporting healthy child-family relationships

Message from Me (MfM) serves as a tool for young children to communicate with their families about their daily activities and learning experiences through the use of digital pictures and recorded audio messages. MfM aims to involve families in the educational experience and bridge the home-school connection while enhancing a child's communication skills, independence, and promoting interaction.



HundrED shortlisted this innovation

HundrED has shortlisted this innovation to one of its innovation collections. The information on this page has been checked by HundrED.

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March 2019
The importance of quality child-parent interactions and relationships in the healthy development of young children birth to age nine cannot be understated. Message from Me provides an opportunity for these types of interactions and relationships to form between children and their caregivers.

About the innovation

How can educators support healthy interactions between young children and their caregivers?

Solving An Age-Old Problem

While children are developing crucial life skills at child care or in the classroom, they sometimes struggle to communicate what they did, "at school" to the adults in their lives.

In collaboration with the Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) CREATE Lab, Trying Together (an early childhood nonprofit based in Southwestern Pennsylvania) provided its expertise in child development for the creation, implementation, and delivery of the Message from Me (MfM) technology.

Originally, MfM was designed as a kiosk for children to take a photo with a digital camera and record a message using a microphone to send messages to their family members via the internet. In 2013, the CMU CREATE Lab researchers updated the tool by creating an Apple Software Application (App) for children and educators to send messages through the use of an iPad. Through MfM, parent-child relationships are enhanced, providing a way to more easily document and share what goes on in the classroom and answer the age-old question: "What did you learn in school today?"

What MfM Does

Using the MfM app, a child can record and share daily thoughts and experiences, impacting his or her feelings of individuality, self-confidence, and well-being.

A child who uses MfM also develops skills:

  • that help him or her be attentive, cooperative, curious, and persistent;

  • that foster taking initiative;

  • like artistic expression, English language arts, mathematical thinking, problem-solving, social-emotional, and writing.

Why MfM is Different

MfM is different from other early childhood ed tech products because it was created in alignment with the NAEYC/Fred Rogers Center Position Statement on Technology and Interactive Media as Tools in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children Birth through Age 8.

In addition, an educator who uses MfM in his or her classroom will have received a minimum of four hours of professional development and has access to a tailored Educator’s Guide and direct, individualized user support. Visual support resources are also available on the MfM administrative website. Since 2012, Trying Together has exclusively provided professional development and support for more than 1,000 teachers who use MfM in their child care centers and classrooms.

Impact on Early Learning and Development

Through the use of MfM, 20,000 children have engaged in consistent communication with their families about their activities. Having now expanded from pre-kindergarten to the lower elementary grades, MfM continues to promote student voice, providing a platform for children to share their unique perspectives. Currently, MfM is used in early learning centers and school districts across Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Utah, Detriot, and in Atlanta Public Schools.

Thanks to the generous support of PNC Grow Up Great, MfM is poised to expand nationwide to PNC's 50+ markets beginning in 2019.

  • Impact on Children

Young children enhance their self-esteem and build their confidence when they talk about their day, their accomplishments and their discoveries. MfM offers children the opportunity to talk about their day and grows their language and literacy skills. With MfM, every child has the opportunity to share learning experiences with their family members, which grows conversations in the home about school and classroom activities.

Using MfM in early childhood settings can also improve behaviors in the classroom. With the MfM Educator’s Guide, children and teachers have access to unique ways to achieve goals while directly engaging families in their children’s educational experiences. One teacher expressed that she was able to work together with a child’s parent through MfM.

“I would take photos of the child engaged in appropriate behavior and send the photo and message to this parent. When the parent received the message, she would make a big deal about the photo and how good her child’s day was, focusing on the positive behavior of her child. I really saw changes in the child by using the MfM app.”

  • Impact on Families

Using MfM in the early childhood setting allows parents to enhance communication with their children and build stronger connections between the home and school environment. MfM provides a unique method to engage children, teachers, and families in using technology while communicating about the significant experiences during the day. With the integration of MFM, families are receiving more information about their child’s daily activities and classroom learning experiences.

  • Impact on Educators

Educators who use MfM report an increased use of appropriate behaviors in the classroom. MfM also supports the use of developmentally appropriate practice (DAP) by educators in early learning settings which improves young children's ability to develop in healthy ways. Additionally, educators who use MfM are able to better engage with children’s primary caregivers and build relationships with them.

Implementation steps

Get Started by Contacting Trying Together

Learn more about Message From Me:


Call: 919.302.3418

Receive Professional Development

Module 1: Review of theNAEYC/Fred Rogers Position Statement on Technology and Interactive Media as Tools in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children from Birth through Age 8.

  • Above all, the use of technology tools and interactive media should not harm children.

  • Developmentally appropriate practices must guide decisions about whether and when to integrate technology and interactive media into early childhood programs.

  • Professional judgement is required to determine if and when a specific use of technology or media is age appropriate, individually appropriate, and culturally and linguistically appropriate.

  • Developmentally appropriate teaching practices must always guide the selection of any classroom materials, including technology and interactive media.

  • Appropriate use of technology and media depends on the age, developmental level, needs, interests, linguistic background, and abilities of each child.

  • Effective uses of technology and media are active, hands-on, engaging, and empowering; give the child control; provide adaptive scaffolds to ease the accomplishment of tasks; and are used as one of many options to support children's learning.

  • When used appropriately, technology and media can enhance children's cognitive and social abilities.

  • Interactions with technology and media should be playful and support creativity, exploration, pretend play, active play, and outdoor activities.

  • Technology tools can help educators make and strengthen home-school connections.

  • Technology and media can enhance early childhood practice when integrated into the environment, curriculum, and daily routines.

  • Assistive technology must be available as needed to provide equitable access for children with special needs.

  • Technology tools can be effective for dual language learners by providing access to a family's home language and culture while supporting English language learning.

  • Digital literacy is essential to guiding early childhood educators and parents in the selection, use, integration, and evaluation of technology and interactive media.

  • Digital citizenship is an important part of digital literacy for young children.

  • Early childhood educators need training, professional development opportunities, and examples of successful practice to develop the technology and media knowledge, skills, and experience needed to meet the expectations set forth in this statement.

  • Research is needed to better understand how young children use and learn with technology and interactive media and also to better understand any short- and long-term effects.

Module 2: Introduction to MfM

  • Learn MfM app features and how to navigate.

Module 3: Implementation of MfM

Use it in the classroom.

Classroom Integration

  • Provide classroom instruction on picture taking and storytelling.

  • Use weekly.

  • Set policies for photographs.

  • Use Group Messaging feature.

  • Use as a child centered choice and/or assign classroom jobs.

  • Have students share what they sent and what happened at home the next day.

  • Use activity ideas provided in the MfM Educator's Guide to keep use of the technology fresh.

Families receive messages.

  • A caregiver may receive an MfM message via text or e-mail depending upon the preference the caregiver designates.

  • Educators should teach families how to use the messages to enhance communication skills in their child.

  • When parents are able to see and hear what their child did in the classroom from them, it prompts follow-up when they are reunited.

Children and families discuss the messages.

  • When parents and other caregivers are together again, they can discuss the message the child sent, what he or she was trying to communicate and how it made them feel.

  • Following-up with a young child in conversation about the MfM messages helps parents and other caregivers to build relationships with the child and improve their confidence and skills development.

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