Early Learning

Photo of girl looking at books


Do you have a little one getting reading for kindergarten? Many schools are still deciding how to safely accommodate their students and staff, but there are lots of fun things you can do at home to help your child get ready! We've transitioned our super popular Countdown to Kindergarten program to a variety of virtual resources for you to try at your own pace: 

Week 1 Talking and Listening 

Week 2 Math and Music

Week 3 Reading and Writing

Week 4 Play 

Resources for Families with Young Children During COVID-19

Please visit this list of reliable resources for more information about Coronavirus and your child. 

Tips to Help Kids Wear Masks at School

Back to School 2020 has a variety of helpful resources as caregivers navigate this unusual school year. As your child adjusts to mask wearing at school, and you're concerned about sensory issues, impulsivity, or possible difficulties with focus or motor skills, check out Trouble Wearing Masks: Tips to Help Kids at School 




photo of kids singing and clapping


Singing slows down language so children can hear the different sounds in words. This helps when children begin to read printed language. 

  • Sing the alphabet song to learn about letters. 
  • Clap along to the rhythm in songs so children hear the syllables in words.
  • When you sing, babies are drawn to the sound of your voice and to the playful sounds of words and rhymes.
photo of maother and baby talking to each other


As children hear spoken language, they learn new words and what they mean. This will help children understand the meaning of what they read.

  • Make sure your children have a lot of opportunities to talk with you, not just listen to you talk.
  • Respond to what your children say and extend the conversation. 
  • If English isn’t your first language, speak to your children in the language you know best. This allows you to explain things more so your children will learn more.
photo of mother reading with babies


Reading together helps children learn how books work. Shared reading also helps children develop an interest in reading and want to learn to read themselves.

  • Point to words and letters. Name the letters and make their sounds.
  • Read to your children in the language that is most comfortable for you so you can talk about the book more.
  • Make reading together an enjoyable activity, and your child will want to repeat it again and again.
Photo of kids and parents writing together


Children can learn pre-reading skills through writing. Both reading and writing represent spoken language and communicate information. 

  • Writing begins with scribbles and marks. Give your children many opportunities to draw and write. Keep crayons, markers or magnetic letters within reach.
  • Encourage babies to grip toys, which helps build their hand muscles so they can write later on.
  • Talk to your children about what they draw, and write captions or stories together. 
photo of boys plaing dressed up as superheroes


Play helps children express themselves and put thoughts into words, which helps them understand written words later on.

  • Give your children plenty of playtime. Encourage them to use their imaginations by giving them props or “costumes” you find around the house.
  • Encourage dramatic play. When children make up stories using puppets or stuffed animals it helps them understand that books have a beginning, middle and end.
  • Ask your children to pretend to read you a book you’ve read together many times.