Early Childhood

early-childhood The early formative years from birth to age five are a once in a lifetime opportunity to develop the foundational learning and social skills critical to a child’s future academic and life success. Research indicates that a child’s brain is growing most rapidly from birth to age three, with 90% of brain growth completed by age five. Getting children off to a strong start is the most strategic way to close the achievement gap and is far more cost-effective than remediation in later years.

Collaborative Action Projects:

  • Increase health services to Pre-K students in pilot schools
  • Convene an ongoing Faith Leaders’ Summit on Children and Families to raise awareness about early brain growth and language development during a child’s first three years and implement action plans to close the “word gap” and prepare children for school
  • Develop and distribute posters and rack cards promoting “Read, Talk, Sing”
  • Conduct Family Engagement Night training for faith leaders and community partners
  • Engage the business community to leverage Louisiana’s School Readiness Tax Credit for local investment in early childhood education



Region 8 Early Childhood Centers Map


 Parent Presentation Slideshow

Parent Presentation on Early Brain Development Pre and Post Test Form

Parent Messages for Social Media on Early Brain Development

Family Engagement Night Pre and Post Test Results

United Way of NWLA Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Brochure



The Economist/The 30 Million Word Gap


Meet Baby Ella Video for parents:


Thirty Million Words: Meet Shurand:



Smart Baby Poster

Please Contact Step Forward if you would like a Smart Baby Poster or Rack Card. You can also click on the picture to find a printable PDF version.

Smart Baby Rack Card


Thirty Million Words

Too Small To Fail

Talk With Me Baby

Zero To Three

American Academy of Pediatrics

Closing the 30 Million Word Gap

Harvard University Center on the Developing Child