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The Center for the Developing Child at Harvard University is an excellent resource for information on many aspects of early childhood. In a recent video, entitled “Play in Early Childhood: The Role of Play in Any Setting,” the creators address the science behind “three core principles that can guide what society needs to do to help children and families thrive.”

These principles include “supporting responsive relationships, strengthening core life skills, and reducing sources of stress.”

They recommend play as a means for addressing all three, and describe play as a tool to “foster children’s resilience to hardship.” Through the complex interactions of play, children build their brains and learn skills that will last a lifetime.

Watch the video and leave a comment about your impressions. How do you see this important information…

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Screenshot of article menu from Zerotothree.org

Did you know that Zero to Three offers a series of articles on infant and toddler social-emotional development? Designed for caregivers, these articles describe the milestones and skills that young children are developing in the first three years of life, plus strategies for how caregivers can support that development. Information is also available in Spanish. This is a great online resource for parents and other caregivers you work with.

This resource is related to one or more competencies in the ICC-Recommended Early Start Personnel Manual (ESPM). To find out more, visit this resource in the Neighborhood…

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3710014094?profile=RESIZE_710xThe National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations describes the Pyramid Model as “a conceptual framework of evidence-based practices for promoting young children’s healthy social and emotional development.” It’s used by both families and professionals and is “based on over a decade of evaluation data.” Modeled after a “tiered public health approach” to providing supports to children and families, the Pyramid Model is built on a foundation of an effective workforce, meaning professionals who are able to “adopt and sustain these evidence-based practices.”

This Pyramid Model poster we’ve provided here describes three tiers of intervention, looking first at the base of the pyramid, then moving…

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Screenshot of page from CSEFEL parent guide One of the critical skills that children develop in early childhood is the ability to identify, express, and manage their emotions. This social-emotional development is a cornerstone of later learning and development. With this in mind, we’re sharing a resource from the Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL) at Vanderbilt University that guides parents and other caregivers through steps and strategies to support their child’s social-emotional development. Teaching Your Child to: Identify and Express Emotions offers actionable tips for caregivers on how to use everyday opportunities to help children learn about their feelings. 

You can check out this resource and more at the CSEFEL site here:…

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toddler-aged girl in dress walking down aisle of store holding caneToday in the Neighborhood News, we’re looking at one of the solely low incidence disabilities, specifically, children who are blind or have low vision, and information that may be useful to their families. In Orientation and Mobility for Babies and Toddlers: A Parent’s Guide, Dr. Merry-Noel Chamberlain, an orientation and mobility specialist, describes the importance of starting early with cane training. Dr. Chamberlain states, “If you want your child to be an independent traveler. . . the very best thing you can do is to introduce her to the cane at an early age.” She goes on to describe “baby’s first cane” in some detail and offers a host of suggestions on how to incorporate the cane into a young child’s daily routines.

Dr. Chamberlain is not in favor of “pre-canes”—devices, often…

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The National Child Traumatic Stress Network and the National Center for PTSD have come together to produce a handout on Psychological First Aid, which offers parents “Tips for Helping Infants and Toddlers after Disasters.” This detailed and easy-to-read resource examines behaviors young children typically display after a disaster as well as what parents should know about and do in response to those behaviors.

Here’s an example:

If your child has problems sleeping . . .

Understand that children often dream about things they fear and can be scared of going to sleep . . . when children are scared, they want to be with people who help them feel safe, and they worry when you are not together . . .

Ways to Help: Hold him and tell him that he is safe, that you are there and will not leave . . . this may take time,…

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Mother and son looking happily at each otherToday on the Neighborhood News, we’re highlighting a resource for early childhood professionals looking to support the social-emotional development of the children they work with. The Child Social-Emotional Competence Checklist from the Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA) is a research-based tool that serves two functions: it provides a list of practices that support the social-emotional competence of young children, and it can act as a self-assessment for the professional after an interaction with a family. Based on the Division for Early Childhood Recommended Practices, these activities can be implemented by the professional as a model for parents, or shared directly with parents through the coaching approach.

To download the checklist directly to your device,…

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5 Steps for Brain-Building Serve and Return

Picture of mother and infant playing with a toy and smilingRemember that viral video going around recently featuring the father and his baby son “discussing” a TV show? (If not, check it out here! https://www.popsugar.com/family/Viral-Video-Baby-Boy-Talking-His-Dad-46235433) In addition to being absolutely adorable, the video illustrates an important activity for nurturing early development called “serve and return” interactions. These back-and-forth moments between babies and caregivers set the foundation for future communication and social development.

To support parents and caregivers to engage in “serve and return” during everyday activities, the Harvard University Center on the Developing Child…

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This article from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is a quick read about co-regulation, which the author defines as “warm and responsive interactions that provide the support, coaching, and modeling children need to ‘understand, express, and modulate their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors’ (Murray et al. 2015, 14).” It’s part of the “Rocking and Rolling” column which appears in Young Children three times a year. “It Takes Two: The Role of Co-Regulation in Building Self-Regulation Skills” offers real-world examples of co-regulation strategies, with infants and toddlers of various ages, as well as detailed tips and things to think about and try.

Let us know about the co-regulation strategies you use in your work by leaving a comment below.

This resource is related to one or…

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Safe Sleep Resources

If you have been a new parent or cared for infants in the past 25 years, you are likely familiar with the “Back to Sleep” campaign from the US Department of Health and Human Services to promote safe infant sleeping habits, one of which is placing babies on their backs to sleep. Today the campaign is known as Safe to Sleep, and is still actively publishing resources and conducting outreach across the country to educate parents and caregivers about ways to reduce the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) and other sleep-related causes of infant death. Today in Neighborhood News, we’re highlighting the What Does A Safe Sleep Environment Look Like? publication, a parent-friendly handout with do’s and don’ts that caregivers can follow to create a safe sleep environment for babies. You can find more resources on safe sleep for infants at the Safe to Sleep website here:…

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"Let Me Tell You What I Want"

The Office of Special Education Program’s Center for Early Literacy Learning (CELL) and the Orelena Hawks Puckett Institute bring us this week, “Let Me Tell You What I Want.” The intention behind this practice guide is to capitalize on the gestures infants naturally use to communicate and to help parents find ways to adapt gestures and signs for children with disabilities who may struggle with communication.

The brochure offers step-by-step guidance on how to observe a young child’s attempts at gestures, then reinforce what’s working and what makes sense within their family. It also gives three real-life examples of families putting the practice to use with amazing results. If you work with a family of a child who is learning to communicate, this practice guide might be just what you need. Leave us a comment below to let us know how you used the information and what the family…

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TACSEI Backpack Connection Series

Families play an essential role in the Early Start system – we often say, “Families are the heart of Early Start.” Strong partnerships between families and early intervention programs support the learning and development of infants and toddlers with disabilities who receive Early Start services. There are many resources available on family engagement; today on the Neighborhood News, we’re highlighting a group of resources called the Backpack Connection Series from the National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations (NCPMI; www.challengingbehavior.org). NCPMI is a collaborative effort that builds on the work from some names that may be familiar: the Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL) and the Technical Assistance Center on Social Emotional Intervention for Young Children (TACSEI).…

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Check Out What's New!

Notice anything new about the Neighborhood today? We've remodeled! It's now even easier to find the resources you need! In the tab bar above, where Resource Library and SSIP Central used to live, you can now find Resources by Topic and Resources by Service Type. But don't worry - things like the Service Coordination Handbook and the Take a Minute materials are all still here! With just a few clicks, you can locate an article, publication, or tool based on the early intervention topic or the type of service. For example, to get to the Effective Early Childhood Transitions: A Guide for Transition at Age Three handbook, visit Resources by Topic, and select Transition. To find and download the first three chapters of the Service Coordination Handbook, click on Resources by Type of Svc (Service) and then Service Coordination. You can also use the search…

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six multicolored concentric rings as sound in original articleTips for Infants

Tips for Toddlers

These information-packed documents from the U.S., Department of Health and Human Services offer “tips to help caregivers use co-regulation to support early development of self-regulation skills” in infants and toddlers. Aimed at practitioners who work in childcare or other caregiving settings, the tips cover evidence-based practices in six broad topics:

  • Start with you;
  • Establish a warm and responsive relationship with each child;
  • Create calm and structured childcare environments;
  • Respond with warmth and structure during…
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child holding ball

It’s no secret that screening is an important practice that can help families of infants and toddlers with developmental delays get an “early start” on the intervention services they might need to succeed later in life(1). The First Words Project at Florida State University is currently conducting a research study on the efficacy of a web-based, family-friendly communication screening tool called the Smart Early Screening for Autism and Communication Disorders (Smart ESAC) whose ink-and-paper version has been shown to accurately predict communication delays and potential risk for autism spectrum disorder(2). As part of their research, the First Words Project has made the Smart ESAC available for…

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May is Drowning Prevention Month

Summer is almost here, which for many families means vacations on the beach, boating on a lake, or spending time in the pool. Beating the heat by the water is a fun way to spend a summer day, but it’s critical for adults to be aware of how to keep young children safe. In California, drowning is a leading cause of injury-related deaths among children under the age of five, and near-drowning incidents can result in life-long disabilities (source: Drowning Prevention Foundation). The good news is that drowning is preventable, and during May is Drowning Prevention Month, you can find many resources on how to keep young children safe by the water. The Department of Developmental Services (DDS) has partnered with the Drowning Prevention Foundation to develop and share numerous free materials on preventing drowning, including videos, songs, infographics, even printable coloring…

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Pardon our dust...

yellow under construction sign

In our effort to make the Neighborhood the best it can be, we'll be making some improvements to the site over the next several weeks. We don't anticipate our Neighbors having any difficulty accessing the content or groups during this time, but you may see things move around or even some exciting new features on your favorite pages to make them more interactive! Thanks for bearing with us while we "remodel"!

- Your Neighborhood Admins

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Songs & Rhymes that Build Readers

Adult and babyA project of Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy, Story Blocks is “a collection of 30-60 second videos designed to model (for) parents, caregivers, and library staff . . . songs, rhymes, and finger-plays appropriate for early childhood.” The video clips also provide early literacy tips “to increase caregivers’ understanding of child development and pre-literacy needs.” Songs and rhymes are also offered in nine different languages. It’s a fun site to explore to be reminded of tried and true favorites as well as to learn new songs and rhymes children will enjoy. Check it out here and leave your comments below.

This resource is related to one or more competencies in the ICC-Recommended Early Start Personnel Manual (ESPM). To find out more, visit…

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Let's Participate logo

If you’re curious about using assistive technology (AT) with young children, or how to incorporate AT into your work with kids, check out the Let’s Participate! website at https://www.letsparticipate.org/. The Let’s Participate! Model Demonstration Program was funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, to assist early childhood programs in “implementing and sustaining promising practices in the effective use of assistive technology (AT) by infants, toddlers, and preschool children with disabilities and, as a result, improve their functional outcomes” (CAInclusion.org). Staff and managers can access a variety of trainings and resources to learn more about using AT with the young children they serve, including how to create child-specific AT plans, build…

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child trends logo with a yellow 40 year anniversaryWe all know that talking, reading, and singing are great ways to baby’s and caregivers to bond, but recent research suggests that eye contact can be just as important to a newborn’s development. Infants naturally begin to make eye contact at six to eight weeks and capitalizing on this behavior may help to promote social and emotional development.

In June 2018, Child Trends reported that “researchers conducted two different experiments to determine if eye gaze mattered when an adult sang to an infant. They used EEG [electroencephalogram] to measure brain activity and found when adults and babies looked directly at each other, their brain waves would sync up more than when the adult avoided eye contact. The babies also tried to…

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