Parent & Caregiver Resources


Parents play a big role in helping young children learn and grow, especially in the first five years of life when the brain is developing rapidly. Even if your child is enrolled in preschool or day care, they will be with you for the majority of their waking hours. You can make every minute count!


Make Learning Joyful!

  • Everyday activities from folding laundry to grocery shopping are opportunities to help your child learn: vocabulary, counting skills, identifying colors and shapes, and most importantly, the “why” of why you do things a certain way.
  • Talking to your child during everyday activities builds language, many other skills, and knowledge. It’s an important way to show you care about them, respect them, and want to include them.
  • Whenever your child is helping you, whether it’s cleaning up, preparing food, or getting dressed, acknowledge and encourage your child’s efforts instead of praising (or criticizing) the outcome. Remember: they’re learning and failure is part of the process. Too much and simplistic praising do not build self-esteem.
  • Welcome your child’s questions. Sometimes turning questions back to your child with a curious “Why” or “What do think?” opens up interesting and revealing conversations.
  • Find answers and solutions to problems together by encouraging your child to try new ideas, make guesses, and experiment. Try not to provide answers to questions right away.

Create a space for sensory play and art making

Even if it’s small, try to dedicate an area for your child’s explorations to help contain the mess from hands-on art, science experiments, and “maker” activities that are so important to a child’s development. We recommend that you:

  • Designate a workstation on a table, a desk, or in a corner of the floor 
  • Cover surfaces with a wipeable tablecloth, towels, newspapers, or butcher paper — or use decks, patios, or the grass that can be hosed off
  • Provide a smock, apron, or an old t-shirt when needed
  • Use box lids, trays, rimmed baking sheets, pie tins, or plates to work on
  • Obtain cups with lids for glue and paint
  • Have rags ready
  • Use a cookie cooling rack for drying art and other projects
  • Compile a box of supplies your child can choose from freely (see below)

Display your child’s creations

Displaying your child’s art, science experiments, collections, and constructions builds self-esteem! A refrigerator door, a clothesline to hang art, a shelf to place ever-changing creations, and even framing and hanging artistic efforts all have meaning for children.