top of page


Families play an essential role in ensuring the educational success and well-being of a child in any situation.


Family is a child’s first and forever teacher

The first 5 years of a child’s life are the most influential. About 90% of a child’s brain development will be made during this time. As a family, you play an essential role in guiding these neural connections. You are the key and have the ability to give your child the best start they need in life. Let us help support you!

There are so many ways in everyday life to actively engage your child's mind.

Families should listen, engage, read and respond!

Listen: Truly listen to what they are saying or asking. Simply asking an open-ended question about what they are talking about or interested in will expand their learning.

Engage: If your child is taking an interest in a toy, situation or particular environment, use that as an opportunity to sit and talk with them about what they are experiencing.

Read: If you ever feel lost, the best thing to do is read, read and read some more! A parent reading to their child can be one of the highest predictors of success in a child’s educational journey.

Respond: The simple fact that a child knows that they are safe and loved is a major learning skill for them. Responding to their needs and worries, helps to secure their thoughts and emotions


Activities for families

The easiest way you can help develop your early learner is to be involved. Here are some places with ideas and activities you can do with your young one.


Do a search on Pinterest for Early Learning and you will find thousands of ideas.

Let them Lead

Let your early learner lead the fun - watch and follow. The goal is to open their imagination.

Start Early

Your child is never too young to start learning. Here are some ideas of play for newborns.

Read, Read, Read!

Reading opens up young children's minds. Give them a love of reading by sharing books early.

Resources for Educators and Parents


Choosing a Child Care

This booklet, put together by SD DSS, will guide you through the decisions and choices of choosing child care and is intended to make the search a little easier. 


Child Care Helpline

Choosing child care is one of the most important decisions you will make for your child.  In partnership with the South Dakota Department of Social Services, the South Dakota Early Childhood Enrichment (ECE) system and the Helpline Center, the Child Care Helpline is a resource and referral program serving all South Dakotans from families seeking care to child care providers.

UW-BH Reads.jpg

Black Hills Reads

Black Hills Reads, an initiative of United Way Black Hills, helps to ensure children are proficient readers by the end of third grade. They have compiled activities for children centered around reading and learning.


SDPB Learners Connection

South Dakota Public Broadcasting has FREE educational resources for learners in preschool through high school, to help with at home learning.

CDC Act Early

From birth to 5 years, your child should reach milestones in how he plays, learns, speaks, acts and moves. Track your child’s development and act early if you have a concern.

National Geographic Kids

National Geographic Kids is a fantastic resource for students to use to explore their interests and follow their curiosity. Though it isn't a comprehensive site and has some gaps in the animals and countries it covers, its offerings keep expanding.

Take it beyond your home.

Start an Early Learning community. We have a toolkit and resources to get you started.

Be an advocate!

Find ways to tell other about the importance of early learning and be a voice for change.

PBS Kids.png

PBS Kids Daily

Is your child’s school closed due to coronavirus concerns? PBS KIDS’ new weekday newsletter offers activities and tips you can use to help kids play and learn at home.

bottom of page