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Learning starts long before school does

Children start learning the day they’re born, and the trajectory of their future success is shaped by their experiences in the first few years.

But too many parents, grandparents and caregivers don’t know how to support early learning. They need to understand that children are learning during everyday moments – doing everyday activities. As a child’s first and most important teacher, parents can easily turn everyday moments into fun, engaging learning opportunities – and by doing so they give their child the best start possible. 

Unfortunately, by the time children enter kindergarten, there’s a gap between those with quality early learning experiences and those without. That turns into an achievement gap by 3rd grade. Most children never catch up. But research shows that children with high-quality early learning in the first few years are more likely to finish school, become part of a productive workforce, and contribute to society and the economy.

Source: The Ad Council- Early Childhood Development Campaign

The Douglas County School District Early Childhood Education department encourages parents to engage in early learning experiences with their preschoolers and younger children.

Early Childhood Resources

Born Learning

The Early Childhood Development campaign ( developed by United Way and the Ad Council, seeks to educate and inform parents, grandparents and caregivers on the importance of quality early learning experiences. It gives them easy, fun tips for “learning on the go” to boost learning during everyday activities, like shopping at the grocery store. It in turn lets parents and caregivers know that by talking with and observing their children, they will be able to understand and support their learning.

Douglas County Libraries: Literacy

DCL's Literacy Department provides enrichment for all ages, including early childhood, through various language development programs, including the following for early childhood:
  • Book Start: Early Literacy Volunteer Project
  • Spellbinders - Volunteer Storytellers
  • Cuddle Up and Read
  • Every Child Ready to Read

Douglas County Librarires also offer a number of online stories and a story hotline for young children.

Online Stories (have your Douglas County Public Library card # and password ready)
Free Anytime Storyline: 303-840-2073 (day or night for a soothing story)

Literacy Center

The Literacy Center Education Network is dedicated to designing exceptional education experiences for young children. So far, we have given away more than 150 million free literacy games and activities to children in 220 countries and we are just getting started.


PBS KIDS is committed to making a positive impact on the lives of children through curriculum-based entertainment. With a 360-degree approach towards learning and reaching children, PBS KIDS leverages the full spectrum of media and technology to build knowledge, critical thinking, imagination and curiosity. By involving parents, teachers, caregivers and communities as learning partners, PBS KIDS helps to empower children for success in school and in life.

Sesame Street Little Discoverers

Little Discoverers: Big Fun with Science, Math and More, is a digital destination featuring videos, games, and activities to inspire preschoolers and the adults in their lives to incorporate STEM—Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math—concepts and skills into everyday moments. Access this site on your mobile device for new Sesame Street STEM mobile games.

Starfall opened in September of 2002 as a free public service to teach children to read with phonics. Their systematic phonics approach, in conjunction with phonemic awareness practice, is perfect for preschool, kindergarten, first grade, second grade, special education, homeschool, and English language development (ELD, ELL, ESL).

Story Blocks

Storyblocks is a project of Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy, working in partnership with Rocky Mountain Public Broadcasting Services. It is a collection of 30-60 second videos designed to model to parents, caregivers, and library staff some songs, rhymes, and fingerplays appropriate for early childhood. Each video clip includes helpful early literacy tips to increase caregivers’ understanding of child development and pre-literacy needs.

Other Educational Resources