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First Steps Nebraska: An Early Childhood Blog

INFORMATION BOOKLET ON CHILD DEVELOPMENT IS A GREAT RESOURCE FOR NEBRASKA PARENTS

The updated Learning Begins at Birth guide includes information on pregnancy and birth, child development, and tips on finding services to help ensure the best outcomes for children and families.

Nebraska parents and families deserve the best, especially when it comes to their children. The Preschool Development Grant (PDG), a multi-year, statewide effort funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has become a catalyst for change, opportunity, and growth in early childhood care and education. The grant facilitated an updated version of Learning Begins at Birth, a booklet with information and resources for new parents and families.

Learning Begins at Birth started as an online resource for parents in 2003. The guide, while available virtually, was not widely available to parents, who often preferred to have a print copy in hand. Adam Feser, a policy advisor at First Five Nebraska, saw the need for information to be more accessible for parents and families. After learning more about the need to increase parental awareness of child development, Feser helped lead the effort to produce an updated version of Learning Begins at Birth—one that is more comprehensive and widely accessible.

The new Learning Begins at Birth is a multi-page guide that helps parents navigate the early stages of a child's life. It includes information on pregnancy and birth, child development, and tips on finding services to help ensure the best outcomes for children and families. In addition, the booklet has essential information about developmental milestones for young children and the importance of quality child care.  

The Preschool Development Grant breathed new life into Learning Begins at Birth. Because of the grant, more families can find valuable information to assist them as they transition into parenthood.

"This project would not have happened without the Preschool Development Grant funds," Feser said. "We needed funds to contract with someone to rewrite it, to print thousands of copies, to ship them across the state, to get them translated."

Feser said his team worked with Amy Napoli, an assistant professor in child development/early childhood education at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Child, Youth and Families Studies program, to write the content in the booklet. Parents, early childhood professionals, and pediatricians also contributed content in the guide. 

First Five Nebraska, along with the Nebraska Department of Education and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, are collaborating to distribute the booklet to as many Nebraskans as possible. About 160,000 copies of Learning Begins at Birth have been printed. The guide has also been shipped to almost every birthing hospital in Nebraska to help ensure that every new parent in the state has access to it. The booklet comes in five languages: English, Spanish, Arabic, Vietnamese, and Karen.