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Online Early Start Central Directory

3949696847?profile=RESIZE_710xHave you seen the online California Early Start Central Directory of Early Intervention Resources? It's worth a visit! 

A few highlights:

  • 24/7 access to some 2,000 early intervention services and resources throughout the state
  • An easy-to-use search bar allows users to quickly find their selected service or resource in their county
  • Includes comprehensive information about the Early Start system—what it is, how it works, how to get referred, and more
  • Features nformation on where to start and how to get help immediately for those concerned about their child or a child in their care
  • Users can help keep information current and give feedback about the directory via a link on the site

Access the Central Directory on the Early Start CEITAN website here:

Have you used the Central Directory in your work with families? Let us know in the comments below!

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Reading Together to Support Early Literacy

3862806013?profile=RESIZE_710xContinuing our theme of early literacy, today on the Neighborhood we’re sharing an article from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) on the impact of sharing books with infants and toddlers to support language, literacy, and other kinds of learning from a very young age. The article summarizes research that suggests that reading books with very young children promotes:

  • Understanding print and pictures as symbols of real things,
  • Increased vocabulary, and
  • Learning the rules and conventions of printed materials in the child’s language.

Click here to read the article in full on the NAEYC website, or visit the following URL:

If you need ideas for what books to read with young children that also promote social emotional development, check out our list by clicking here or visiting

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How to Introduce Toddlers and Babies to Books

Our friends at Zero to Three have done it again! In “How to Introduce Toddlers and Babies to Books,” they’ve provided the field with evidence-informed strategies for teaching very young children about the joy of reading.

The first and most important tip shared is to have fun, noting that “when children have positive interactions with books, they are developing good feelings about reading.” What follows is a litany of sage advice—everything from “a few minutes at a time is OK” to “make books a part of your daily routine.” The authors give suggestions for incorporating books into nine different routines that are typical for many families. They also recommend focusing on pictures and print, involving the child by encouraging them to turn pages, and fostering a love of storytelling, all of which are important pre-literacy skills

Check the article out and leave us a comment about ways you’ve shared books with infants and toddlers or strategies you’ve seen parents use. We’d love to hear from

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Don’t forget the dads! This is the crux of an article from the National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ) titled “Fathers: Powerful Allies for Maternal and Child Health.” The article summarizes research on the critical importance of fathers’ role during pregnancy and in a child’s early years, and offers practical recommendations on how to support the involvement of fathers.

Click here to read the article.

Although geared mainly toward health professionals, some proposed approaches are relevant to (or could be adapted for) early intervention professionals and settings. Here’s an example insight from NICHQ President and CEO Scott D. Berns:

“Offering office hours outside of regular work hours, asking families to try to find times when all caregivers can attend when scheduling visits, including working partners through video chat, developing father-focused resources that can be sent home, and sharing information on father-support groups during the well-child visit—these sma

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“Self-regulation is the act of managing thoughts and feelings to enable goal-directed actions.” It’s a set of skills we begin working on right after birth and continue refining through adulthood. Self-regulation is an important goal for infants and toddlers as it enables them to shift the focus of their attention, soothe themselves, adjust their behavior, and seek help from others when it’s needed.

This two-page snapshot from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services describes ways in which parents and caregivers can observe self-regulation in very young children, strategies they can use to support its development, and the research behind “lessons learned about interventions to promote self-regulation in infants and toddlers.”

It’s a quick read but a very important topic, so check it out 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 this resource in the Neig

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Reading Babies' Cues: Resource from CSEFEL

image of page from CSEFEL resourceVery young children communicate their needs and feelings in ways that sometimes make it difficult for their caretakers to understand them. Parents can’t read minds, but they can learn to read their child’s cues and respond accordingly to their child’s emotions and needs. This resource from the Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL) helps caregivers identify, interpret, and respond to their child’s behaviors.

Do you sometimes find it hard to understand your child, or the young children you work with? Or are you a "baby whisperer"? Let us know in the comments!

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 here.

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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 impacting your day-to-day practice as an early intervention professional or as a parent.

This resource is related to one or more competencies in the ICC-Recomm

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Screenshot of article menu from

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 here.

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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 upward:

  • Universal Promotion: “Universal supports for all children through nurturing and responsive relationships and high-quality environments.” This includes practices that support the social and emotional development of all children.
  • Secondary Prevention: “Prevention . . . represents practices that
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Screenshot of page from CSEFEL parent guideOne 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:

…or download the resource directly to your device here:

This resource is related to one or more competencies in the ICC-Recommended Early Start Personnel Manua

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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 made from PVC pipe, designed to simulate case use—but does promote the use of everyday objects, like wrapping paper tubes and push toys (e.g., child-size shopping carts and toy lawn mowers) to encourage a c

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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, but when he feels safer, he will sleep better.

This would be a great resource to have tucked away in an earthquake kit or to carry with you on home visits after a disaster as many f

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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, click here.
To access other checklists and resources from ECTA, click here or visit

How might you use this checklist in your work with children and families in Early Start? Leave us

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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! 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 created a family-friendly two-page guide that lists five steps for completing serve and return interactions. The resource also includes a link where caregivers can watch an introductory video, learn more about the science behind serve and return, and access even more materials to help them support their baby’s development. Check out this resource o

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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 more competencies in the ICC-Recommended Early Start Personnel Manual (ESPM). To find out more, visit this resource in the Neighborhood here.

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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:

Click here to download this resource directly to your device.



This resource is

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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 thought.

 If you’d like to check out other practice guides from CELL, click here.

 This resource is related to

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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; 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).


The Backpack Connection Series ( features 25 downloadable handouts on how parents and teache

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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 bar at the top of the page to find what you need!

If you encounter a broken link or need other assistance, please e-mail your Neighborhood

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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 stressful moments;
  • Work closely with parents; and
  • Cultivate a sense of community.

These documents also include definitions, real-world examples, and strategies to try right away. Dive in to your appropriate age group and leave us a comment about the piece of information you are most excited to have discovered.

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

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