Child Development Resources

Resources for Parents

California Department of Social Services - Early Start Program: Provides early intervention in a coordinated, family-centered system. Early intervention is critical for children to achieve the best possible developmental outcomes.

Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL): Promotes the social emotional development and school readiness of young children birth to age 5. Information for families on understanding your child’s behavior and supporting your child’s development. Resources for early childhood professionals include: scripted stories for social situations, tools for working on building relationships, “Book Nook” extension activities, and resources for teaching social and emotional skills.

Doing What Works: Research-Based Education Practices Online (Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education): Online library of resources that may help teachers, schools, districts, states and technical assistance providers implement research-based instructional practice.

Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center: Information and resources for families including: everyday parenting, growing up and learning games and activities, and information and resources for professionals (assessment, planning and curriculum, and individualizing instruction).

Good to Go From Head to Toe!: Pretend City Children’s Museum’s child-development initiative educates parents, caretakers and the community about the importance of having children (0-5) receive regular developmental checkups as part of routine, well-child visits. Pretend City Children’s Museum hosts classes and special events to support children’s development and provides online resources on developmental milestones and recent research on children’s development.

Healthy (Brought to you by the American Academy of Pediatrics): Information on ages and stages of child development (birth through young adult), healthy living, safety and prevention, family life and health issues.

Help Me Grow
Are you concerned with your child’s development? Are you challenged by your child’s behavior?  Would you like more information on parenting? Help Me Grow connects families and children with developmental, behavioral or learning concerns to resources in the community.

Keep Connected: The website offers all kinds of families -and organizations that support them - ideas, activities, and experiences to help build strong family relationships. Goal is to strengthen family relationships to help children become their best selves.

National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (NACCRRA)
Resources designed to help parents find quality child care, get the latest information on child development and parenting issues, keep informed on current legislation and policies affecting young children, look at their work choices after having a baby, and have access to hundreds of fun learning activities to do with their children.

NAEYC: National Association for the Education of Young Children is the leading membership association for those working with and on behalf of children from birth through age 8. The Families Today page features articles on various parenting topics such as reading to children, television’s impact on young children, and family concerns like divorce, challenging behavior, etc.

South Orange County Family Resource Center
To improve family and community life, the Family Resource Center brings together services and activities that educate, support and provide resources to families with children including parenting education, parent/child interactive classes, health care access services and counseling services.

Zero to Three: From Baby to Big Kid Newsletter: Showcases how children learn and grow each month from birth to 3 years. From Baby to Big Kid translates the science of early childhood and offers strategies parents can tailor to their unique family situation and to the needs of their child.

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Resources for Individuals Interested in Opening a Child Care Business

State of California Community Care Licensing Division
All child care centers and family child care homes must be licensed by the State of California Division of Community Care Licensing. To view Community Care Licensing information and updates, visit the Community Care Licensing Division website.

Children’s Home Society (CHS)
CHS provides a variety of vital informational, educational and resource services, including monthly family child care business start-up training, a quarterly child care and development services newsletter, referrals for parents looking for child care centers and homes, professional development and networking opportunities.  Call 949-364-6605 for more information.

Orange County Score
SCORE is a nationwide nonprofit organization dedicated to the formation, growth and success of small businesses. SCORE offers monthly workshops and no-cost personal counseling and mentoring from professional business women and men in a comfortable, non-confrontational environment.

Small Business Administration
Programs and services to help you start, grow and succeed.

Orange County Child Care and Development Planning Council
The mission of the Orange County Child Care and Development Planning Council is to mobilize public and private resources and foster partnerships to address the child care and development needs of Orange County children, families and providers.

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Resources for Early Care and Educational Professionals

Afterschool Tech Toolkit
The Afterschool Tech Toolkit provides free resources to help afterschool professionals bring meaningful, digital learning to enhance their current programs. Learn how to give students powerful access to technology outside of classroom hours.

National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
NAEYC is dedicated to improving the well-being of all young children, with particular focus on the quality of educational and developmental services for children from birth through age 8. For more information about the Orange County Chapter of the organization, click here.

National Association for Family Child Care ( NAFCC)
NAFCC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting quality child care by strengthening the profession of family child care. For more information about the Orange County Chapter of the organization, click here.

City of Irvine Disability Services
City of Irvine Disability Services provides support services and social programs to persons with disabilities, their families, caregivers, and providers who live or work in Irvine.

National Afterschool Alliance
The alliance works to ensure that all youth have access to affordable, quality after-school programs. One of the organization's leading goals is to serve as an information source on after-school programs and resources.

Help Me Grow
Help Me Grow connects families and children with developmental, behavioral or learning concerns to resources in the community. Help Me Grow also provides resources and information to child care providers to help support the families they serve.

State of California Community Care Licensing Division
All child care centers and family child care homes must be licensed by the State of California Division of Community Care Licensing. To view Community Care Licensing information and updates, visit the Community Care Licensing Division website.

Orange County Department of Education (OCDE)

The Orange County Department of Education strives to make a difference in Orange County schools through world class resources, services, and opportunities for parents, educators, students, and community members. Visit OCDE online to learn more about the programs and services that support and foster excellence in Orange County schools.

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Links to Child Development Resources


Reading Rockets: A national multimedia project offering information and resources on how young kids learn to read, why so many struggle, and how caring adults can help.

Jumpstart: Literacy resources for families include: favorite books and reading tips, family resource book, ideas for story time, and Playdate with a Purpose (presented by Parents Magazine), a downloadable guide based on carefully selected children’s books. Plan a literacy play-date today!

Center for Early Literacy Learning: Activities especially for parents of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. These practices show you how everyday home and community activities encourage infants to listen, talk, and learn the building blocks for early literacy. Practice guide activities include: storytelling, listening, scribbling, drawing, rhymes, sound awareness, vocalizing, singing, gestures and signing.


Exploratorium: The Exploratorium in San Francisco is a museum of science, art and human perception. At the Exploratorium website, visitors can engage in science activities that are miniature versions of the museum's exhibits. Subject categories include chemistry, color, electricity, heat, light, math, sound and waves.

Science Instructions and videos for interactive science experiments, science fair ideas, and links to many science sites.

PBS Learning Media: Free, standards-aligned videos, interactives, lesson plans, and more.

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Mixing in Math (Funded in part by the National Science Foundation): A bank of resources that add math to out-of-school time for ages 3-12.

Nutrition/Physical Fitness

Fruits & Veggies: More Matters Health Initiative: Offers expert cooking advice, nutrition information and shopping tips.

Health and Nutrition for Kids: Resources for kids, parents and teachers including recipes, games, music, activity sheets, lesson plans and more.

Deliciously Healthy Family Meals: Free online cookbook offering more than 40 kid-tested recipes featuring a variety of healthy entrees, side dishes, and snacks that parents and children can prepare and enjoy together. Also includes time-saving tips and helpful resources for busy families.

Keep the Beat-Deliciously Healthy Eating: Healthy recipes, nutrition guidelines for children, tips for getting children involved in the kitchen and much more!

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California Infant/Toddler and Preschool Learning and Development Resources

Guidelines for Early Learning in Child Care Home Settings: California Department of Education. The Guidelines focus on the special role you play as a family child care provider in educating the children you serve, and offers guidance to help create a positive, nurturing environment for the children in your care. The Guidelines will help you strengthen relationships with the children and families you serve, develop a home-based curriculum that will enhance children’s learning and development across domains, and ensure your home is both a caring and learning environment.

California Infant/Toddler Learning Foundations (Published by the California Department of Education): Presents 28 foundations in four domains that describe the competencies that infants and toddlers typically attain in the first three years of life. The descriptions of competencies are enriched with examples of typical behaviors at each age level in each of the four domains as well as behaviors leading up to attainment of those competencies. This publication is a counterpart to the preschool learning foundations and is a companion to the Infant/Toddler Learning & Development Program Guidelines.

California Preschool Learning Foundations: Volume 1 (Published by the California Department of Education): Describe the knowledge, skills, and competencies that children typically attain at around 48 and 60 months of age when they participate in a high-quality preschool program and with adequate support. They also help to inform practitioners about children’s academic and social development so that decisions can be made to support children’s curriculum and growth.

California Preschool Learning Foundations: Volume 2: The foundations are at the heart of the CDE's approach to promoting preschool learning. This book was developed to ensure school readiness for all children, including those with disabilities and those from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Volume 2 focuses on the domains of the visual and performing arts, physical development, and health. A summary list of the foundations is included at the back

California Preschool Learning Foundations: Volume 3: Establishes research-based foundations for the domains of history-social science and science. Like volumes 1 and 2, it provides examples under each foundation to describe the various ways in which a child might demonstrate skills and knowledge, whether in a home language or using alternative modes of communication. Instructional strategies provide ideas for how a preschool program can support children's learning. Appendix A provides an overview of the alignment of the preschool foundations with key early education resources, such as the Common Core State Standards. Appendix B displays all the history-social science and science foundations.

California Preschool Curriculum Framework: Volume 1 (Published by the California Department of Education): Created as a companion to the "California Preschool Learning Foundations, Volume 1", this framework presents strategies and information to enrich learning and development opportunities for all of California’s preschool children.

California Preschool Curriculum Framework: Volume 2: Focuses on the learning domains of visual and performing arts, physical development, and health. The framework takes an integrated approach to early learning and describes how curriculum planning considers the connections between different domains. Strategies are described for planning the curriculum, the preschool environment, and teacher interactions with children so that learning is maximized. The curriculum framework is designed to be a companion to the "California Preschool Learning Foundations."

California Preschool Curriculum Framework: Volume 3: Focuses on two learning domains: history-social science and science. It includes guiding principles, curriculum strategies, and ideas to support the learning and development of preschool children. Strategies for teaching children who are English learners are included.

Instructional Guide for the California Preschool Learning Foundations: Volume 1: Includes suggested activities and resources for use by faculty in community college and university courses in California.

California Comprehensive Early Learning Plan: This plan lays out a direction for California in the development of high-quality birth-to-five long-term success. It suggests changes to make California's early learning system more coherent and effective. The first few years of life are critical to long-term brain development, and early experiences are essential to successful long-term academic and social outcomes.

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