Early Learning with Families (ELF) programs evolve from evidence-based research and promising practices in child development and family services. As a result, a essential component of ELF is professional development and training. Each year the California State Library sponsors an ELF Training Institute for first year participating libraries. In addition, there are resources for continued development and training through ELF partner agencies and experts in field related to the initiative.

Here you can access video segments of the ELF Training Institute, web casts delivered by specialists in related fields, information about national and state organizations that offer training, and researchers in early learning as well as references to local resources for early learning. In addition, California libraries that offer early learning services for families can share resources and innovations, ask questions and discuss issues on the ELF blog.

Did You Know?

Fathers and Learning

Fathers have an important role in a child’s development and may be overlooked. Through their involvement, children tend to develop into better problem-solvers and to become more self-confident.

Always Respond to Cries

Infants cannot be spoiled. They cry because they need attention. When the parent responds, the infant becomes more comfortable and knows that he has someone on which he can rely for care.

Playing and Learning

A child’s job is to play. This is how they discover, experiment, explore and learn the essentials of navigating their world and develop the self-confidence to do it.

Whole Child Development

It’s important that all aspects of a child - social, emotional, physical and cognitive – are stimulated and have an opportunity to develop. Provide opportunities for fun with sound and music, stories, play, engagement with parents, interaction with other children as well as movement and physical activity.

Routine for Infants and Toddlers

Create routines for infants and toddlers. It’s the way babies develop trust about their surroundings and a sense that they can count on predictable activities and responses.

Developing Literacy Early

Talk, sing, rhyme and read to little ones beginning at birth. Invite infants and toddlers to be part of ELF activities. This interaction is essential and serves as a rich foundation in language and pre-literacy for future success in school.

Parents and Caregivers

The parent and caregiver know their child better than anyone. Let parents know the importance of this expertise by deferring to them and actively involving them in ELF activities.

Teaching As Discipline

Discipline means, “to teach.” So rather than inflicting punishment, redirect the child’s attention and explain the reason why. Setting limits and being consistent is helpful to a child and the development of their self-control.

Children Provide Direction

Take direction from the children. Rather than creating the direction, attend to their signals and respond to their cues. They know their own capacity and interests.

Everyday Literacy

Encourage families to take advantage of everyday activities like diaper changing and going to the store to talk to their child. Suggest that they make up nonsense rhyming words, read labels and share new vocabulary. Their little ones will learn language by hearing all kinds of sound.

Imitating Sounds

When parents imitate infant’s gurgles and use a playful loving voice, they are engaging their child. Have parents repeat sounds and words then listen for their infant’s response.

Parent/Child Relationship

The relationship between the parent and child is the most critical aspect in promoting early learning. Provide opportunities for parents to interact with their infant and toddler so they can encourage engagement and promote learning.

Join Your Child in Play

Encourage parents to join their child in play, have fun together and delight in their discoveries. It’s through these personal interactions that their curiosity and eagerness to learn is reinforced and becomes a lifelong quest.

Next Tip

Concepts in Practice

Many California libraries have spent years dedicating resources and staff expertise to designing early learning services for families. It is through their work and the more recent efforts of the ELF initiative that promising practices have expanded.

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