Early Childhood Education

Early Childhood Education

  • Age 2 Learning Resources (PBS):   Two-year-olds are delightfully curious. They love to push buttons, wiggle their bodies and use all their senses to figure out how things work. Imagine the world through their eyes: so much of what they encounter is new and exciting . . . and sometimes overwhelming! They have big emotions, but they don’t yet have all the words to express their thoughts. Caring adults can help them feel secure as they grow and explore their world.
  • Age 3 Learning Resources (PBS):   Three-year-olds learn best through exploring, using all of their senses to understand their world. They are endlessly curious, and you may start to hear that classic question, “Why?” Their vocabulary is rapidly expanding, and they love to hear stories and use their imagination. While playing, they are better able to focus on what interests them — and they might surprise you with their creative problem-solving skills!
  • Age 4 Learning Resources (PBS): Four-year-olds are creative, curious and increasingly independent. Their pretend play is more complex and imaginative, and they love to show off what they can do. As their language skills grow, so does their ability to solve problems and regulate their emotions. But they still need lots of support from caring adults to help them develop the habits they need to thrive in school and beyond.
  • Age 5 Learning Resources (PBS):  Five-year-olds are wonderful company. They have strong language skills and love to share their ideas and stories. They are creative problem solvers, eager to understand “how” and “why” things work. Their reading, writing, and math skills are growing — and so are their social and emotional skills. With guidance and support from caring adults, they are developing the habits they need to thrive in school and beyond.
  • Age 6 Learning Resources (PBS):  Six-year-olds will astound you with their abilities! They are becoming readers, writers and mathematicians. They enjoy taking on new roles and responsibilities and using their reasoning skills to solve problems. Most still enjoy — and benefit from — imaginative play, and they are eager to develop strong friendships. With guidance and support from caring adults, they are developing the habits they need to thrive in school and beyond.
  • Arthur:  “Arthur” is an animated series aimed at children ages 4 to 8, starring 8-year-old aardvark Arthur and his family and friends. Watch them creatively solve problems, learn to get along, and appreciate each other’s differences! Additionally, “Arthur” encourages a love of reading and libraries for all children. Based on the popular book series by Marc Brown, “Arthur” has been a family favorite to watch together for over 20 years
  • Developmental Milestone: Ages 3 through 5   Since birth, you’ve watched your child grow and develop. You’ve noted his height and weight, when he crawled, stood, and walked, even when he spoke his first words — and perhaps compared all of these milestones of his infant and toddler years to the "norms." The preschool and early school years are also full of changes. From three to five your child’s motor skills, language, thinking, and social development change dramatically. Knowing what to expect as your child grows can reassure you that your child is on track with his peers or alert you to potential concerns. Below are some milestones to watch for during the preschool years.
  • Early Childhood:  The Iowa Department of Education provides multiple connections and resources of information  to assure the success of children birth-age 5 and their families. 
  • Early Childhood Iowa:  The first two thousand days make up the most critical stage of the human life cycle. These first five years will impact a child’s chances for success for the rest of their lives. Early Childhood Iowa (ECI) is a statewide initiative housed within the Iowa Department of Management that unites public and private agencies, organizations, and stakeholders under one common vision, “Every child, beginning at birth, will be healthy and successful.”
  • Family Education:  From breastfeeding to college counseling, Family Education experts have the answers. Use the search option to the right to find resources or learn more below.
  • Headstart - Drake University    The Drake University Head Start Program offers a variety of program options to address each family's individual strengths and needs. Program options include preschool classrooms for three and four year olds, full-day and full-year preschool classrooms with childcare, home-based preschool program for three and four year olds, toddler center-based program for two year olds, and home visiting program for pregnant women, infants, and toddlers.
  • Helping Your Child Become a Reader     Other than helping our children to grow up healthy and happy, the most important thing that we can do for them is to help them develop their reading skills. This offers pointers on how to build the language skills of young children (birth through age 6), and includes a list of typical language accomplishment for different age groups, suggestions for books, and resources with reading problems or learning disabilities. Information is available in English and Spanish.
  • Helping Your Child Learn Mathematics    This booklet is made up of fun activities that parents can use with children from preschool age through grade 5 to strengthen their math skills and build strong positive attitudes toward math. Information is available in both English and Spanish.
  • Helping Your Child Learn Science    Everyday is filled with opportunities to learn science – without expensive chemistry sets or books. Parents and families do not need degrees in chemistry or physics to help their children learn science. All that is needed is willingness to observe and learn with them, and, above all, to make an effort to take the time to nurture their natural curiosity. This booklet provides parents and families of children ages 3-10 with information, tools, and activities they can use in the home and community to help their child develop an interest in the sciences and learn about the world around them. This booklet is available in English and Spanish.
  • Helping Your Preschool Child    How well children will learn and develop and how well they will do in school depends on a number of things, including their health and physical well-being, social and emotional preparation, and language skills and general knowledge of the world. This booklet highlights techniques parents and families can use to encourage their children to develop the skills necessary for success in school and life by focusing on activities that make learning fun. This booklet is available in English and Spanish
  • How To Create a Literate Home    What exactly is a "literate home"?  It is an environment that encourages children (birth through first grade) to learn to read and write and become lifelong readers and writers. Transforming your home into a literate home is simple and inexpensive. You need to consider what kinds of materials to have on hand and how to arrange materials so your child will use them. Follow these tips about what materials parents need and what parents can do.
  • Iowa Association for the Education of Young Children:  Iowa AEYC promotes high-quality early learning for all children, birth through age 8, by connecting practice, policy, and research. They advance a diverse, dynamic early childhood profession and support all who care for, educate, and work on behalf of young children.  Iowa AEYC provides professional development, advocacy, and leadership development opportunities for the early care and education field in Iowa.  Because of their work, their vision is that all young children in our state will thrive and learn in a society dedicated to ensuring they reach their full potential.
  • Iowa Early Childhood Standards:  The Iowa Department of Education provides these standards as a resource to help support and enhance children's learning and development, as well as inform policy and decision makers.
  • Iowa Family Support Network:  Providing Care and Support to Iowa's Families and Children. Iowa Family Support Network (IFSN) is a statewide system that provides information and resources to expecting families or families with young children and professionals that serve them. You will find information that includes; family support services; group-based parent education programs; and prenatal services.
  • Making Music: Literacy Tips for Parents    Music is a great way to introduce children to sounds and words! Here are some helpful hints from Reading Rockets on making music a part of your daily life as well as a list of recommended musical recordings and songbooks for you to try.
  • The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is a professional membership organization that works to promote high-quality early learning for all young children, birth through age 8, by connecting early childhood practice, policy, and research. They advance a diverse, dynamic early childhood profession and support all who care for, educate, and work on behalf of young children.
  • Parenting Counts is a research-based resource site developed to support parents and caregivers in raising socially and emotionally healthy children.
  • PBS - Fun and GamesAccess a data base of activities for you and your child based on the program you want (e.g., Sesame Street, Sid the Science Guy, Super Why), the type of activity (e.g., songs, games, post-card), and the skill (e.g., math and numbers, reading and language) you want your child to develop.
  • Preparing Your Preschooler To Read   As your child's first and most influential teacher, you’ve taught your 3-5 year old a lot about reading and writing. By providing opportunities each day for your child to practice emerging skills, you’re laying the foundation for her to become a successful reader. She’s learning that print is a powerful means of communicating knowledge and information and can be lots of fun, too.
  • Reading Milestones - Baby, Toddler, Pre-Schooler:  Find out how your child’s reading skills might progress in this age-by-age guide. Get tips on how to help them develop by talking, reading and writing together every day.
  • Sesame Street    Sesame Street's web site offers many activities, including Letter of the Day, Number of the Day, Spanish activities, coloring pages, and adventures with Elmo, Zoe, Ernie, Grover, and Baby Bear.
  • Twitter:  Check out these early childhood educators who tweet about early childhood -  @PreKPages  @prekinders  @Teach_Preschool   @Fun_A_Day   @tch2and3yearold    @Pktchr  @sxwiley  @ecctech  @happycampergirl @earlychildhood
  • What Early Learning in ESSA Can Look Like for States and Districts Recently FFYF released a new resource, What Early Learning in ESSA Can Look like for States and Districts, which details new opportunities to develop and expand access to quality early childhood education through the recently-passed Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This resource identifies opportunities throughout the law for states and districts to invest in early learning, provides initial recommendations for what is allowable use of funding, and highlights additional supplementary resources. As state and local leaders begin implementing the new law, this tool showcases what early learning through ESSA can look like in practice.

This page was updated on August 11, 2021.

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