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Infant & Toddler Services

High quality programs for infants and toddlers support parents in building the cognitive, social and emotional foundation for future learning and school readiness, especially for at-risk families, too many of which are Latino.

Birth-to-three services in Illinois are comprised of: 

Interventions in the earliest years are crucial because the nurturing bond between a child and a responsive caregiver shapes the architecture of the brain. This bond, if language-rich and responsive to children’s’ needs, is the foundation for healthy development, health, learning, and literacy in both home and target languages. For Spanish-speaking Latino families, a strong foundation in a home language is the key for successful acquisition of the English language in subsequent years.

Many Latino families experience multiple risk factors that make it difficult for parents to provide this strong foundation, including poverty and low maternal education levels. This places young children at risk for school failure even before preschool, despite the social and emotional strengths these toddlers cultivate since birth.

Investments in preventative services for infants and toddlers have been shown to produce returns far exceeding those of interventions in the later years and hold great potential to reverse the education gap. The Forum and its Education Acuerdo partners will advance a targeted Latino infant and toddler agenda focused on home visiting, center based infant and toddler care, and Early Intervention. Such programs, if culturally responsive and family-centered, can lay the foundation for children to meet the third grade reading benchmark, a key predictor of future educational outcomes.

Resources related to Infant & Toddler Services are available below. For additional information, contact Christine Nicpon

Photo: Olga Lopez

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