Early Care and Education Programs

CDC’s milestones and parent tips have been updated and new checklist ages have been added (15 and 30 months). For more information about the updates to CDC’s developmental milestones, please review the Pediatrics journal article and these important key points.

As an early care and education provider, you are a valuable resource to parents! They look to you for information on their child, and they trust you. CDC’s “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” has FREE research-based, parent-friendly resources on child development to help you boost family engagement and your own professional development. Read on to learn more!

Using CDC’s “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” can…

  • Help you track and celebrate each child’s developmental milestones
  • Help you communicate with parents about development
  • Provide guidance on discussing developmental concerns
  • Help parents know what milestones to expect next
  • Complement and support developmental screening
  • Provide professional development with CDC’s FREE CEU training, Watch Me! Celebrating Milestones and Sharing Concerns
  • Aid in early identification of the 1 in 6 children with a developmental delay or disability

“Learn the Signs. Act Early.”
One Director’s Story

Early care and education providers can ensure children with developmental delays and disabilities receive the help they need by…

  1. Learning how to monitor each child’s development with CDC’s FREE 1-hour online training, Watch Me! Celebrating Milestones and Sharing Concerns
  2. Regularly using CDC’s milestone checklists in your classroom to
      • Track each child’s development progress;
      • Guide your conversation and support your observations when raising concerns with parents; and
      • Complement developmental screening by engaging families in monitoring milestones.
  3. Encouraging families to use CDC’s milestone checklists [4 MB, 24 Pages, 508] or Milestone Moments booklet [3 MB, 60 Pages, 508] at home to monitor their children’s development
  4. Helping parents to act on developmental concerns by encouraging them to talk with their child’s healthcare provider and call their state’s early intervention program. Support them by sharing CDC’s How to Get Help for Your Child [727 KB, 2 Pages, 508] tip sheet.

Increase Parent Engagement
with LTSAE

Health Visitor Talking To Mother With Young Baby

A recent study suggests that parents who use LTSAE resources are more aware of developmental milestones and are more engaged in conversations about their child’s development.

Collaborating with Healthcare Providers
AAP video screenshot

This video from AAP shows how sharing developmental information with healthcare providers and others can improve early identification.

Share Materials with Families

Most materials are available in English and Spanish, many in simplified Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean, some in other languages. Customize these resources by adding your center’s logo and contact information. Request customizable files from ActEarly@cdc.gov and print them.

CDC's Free Milestone Tracker App

Resources for Early Educators

Learn more about the milestones that children should reach from 2 months to 5 years of age, plus interactive tools for parents and staff to help keep track of them. Print out milestone checklists for parents or your staff to complete.

Watch Me! Celebrating Milestones and Sharing Concerns
This FREE, one-hour, online training course for early care and education providers,  shares tools and best practices for monitoring the development of children in your care and talking about it with their parents. FREE Continuing Education is available.
Take the training in English | Take the training in Spanish

Note: In centers that conduct developmental screening, these materials support and complement, but do not replace, developmental screening. Learn more about developmental monitoring and screening. [657 KB, 2 Pages, Print Only]

Milestones in Action web button

Tips for Talking with Parents about Developmental Concerns
This tip sheet provides information on how to regularly talk with parents about their child’s development and also provides tips for talking to parents when you have concerns.
English [422 KB, 2 Pages, 508] | Spanish [173 KB, 2 Pages, Print Only]

Watch Me button

Early Care and Education Primer
This one page handout highlights the benefits of integrating “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” resources within early care and education settings and provides information on how to access materials. The primer provides tips on using “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” materials in classrooms; tips for using “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” to boost family engagement; resources for discussing developmental concerns with parents; and ways to support providers’ professional development.
Primer in English [2 MB, 2 Pages, 508] | Primer in Spanish [1 MB, 2 Pages, 508]

Child Care Development Fund Primer
This primer for Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) grantees, highlights the different CCDF requirements that “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” can help providers meet such as the CCDF health and safety training requirements, professional development requirements, and consumer and provider education provisions on family engagement. In addition, resources for discussing developmental concerns with parents and ways to support professional development are also included.
Primer in English [2 MB, 2 Pages, 508] | Primer in Spanish [2 MB, 2 Pages, 508]

Home Visiting Primer
This primer highlights the benefits of integrating “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” materials within home visiting programs, shares an example of one state’s successful model for integration, and provides information on how “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” materials can help home visitors strengthen family engagement and better support children.
Primer in English [1 MB, 2 Pages, 508] | Primer in Spanish [791 KB, 2 Pages, 508]

Developmental Screening Passport
“Learn the Signs. Act Early.” materials promote developmental monitoring and can also be used to complement and support developmental screening efforts. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends both developmental monitoring (surveillance) and screening for all children. Download this resource from Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive! to track a child’s screening history and share results with parents and providers.

English [2 MB, 2 Pages, 508] | English Print Version [2 MB, 2 Pages, Print Only]

Spanish [2 MB, 2 Pages, Print Only]

Milestones Matter with CDC and Vroom!
Use this poster to encourage families to track their child’s development and try brain building tips to promote their child’s development. Download, print, and display the poster in your childcare setting. English [4 MB, 1 Page, 508] | Spanish [4 MB, 1 Page, 508]

Brazelton Touchpoints Development is a Journey Roadmap
This roadmap is designed for early care educators to facilitate  conversations if there are developmental concerns and/or after developmental screening using seven short and simple steps to actively engage parents and other caregivers in planning for their child’s developmental needs and enhance the provider-parent partnership.
Development is a Journey conversation roadmap PDF | Roadmap Background and Guidance

Links to Early Childhood Websites

Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive!
Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive! is a coordinated federal effort to encourage healthy child development, universal developmental and behavioral screening for children, and support for the families and providers who care for them.

Click here to learn more on standardized, validated screening tools.

National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
NAEYC provides accreditation for schools that meet certain standards, as well as resources, tools, and information for families and childcare providers.

Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA)
The Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA) works to strengthen the systems that provide early childhood services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The center’s mission is to ensure that children with disabilities (birth through 5) and their families receive and benefit from high-quality, culturally appropriate, and family-centered supports and services.

Zero to Three
Provides professionals working with very young children and their families an extensive collection of resources aimed at supporting the work of professionals in a variety of early childhood settings.

Child Care Aware
Child Care Aware is a program of Child Care Aware® of America and helps families learn more about the elements of quality child care and how to locate programs in their communities. Child Care Aware also offers resources for families and for child care providers.