Children behind on their developmental milestones are getting help catching up, thanks to the developmental playgroups we’re funding at our First 5 Centers.
We launched the playgroups in 2013 on the heels of our new developmental screening program, which led to an increase in children being identified with developmental concerns or delays at a time when state funding for early intervention services had dwindled. With delays not serious enough to receive state-funded services, yet still in great need, we created the playgroups to make sure these vulnerable children didn’t fall further behind.
Since then, the playgroups have served 265 children. Led by developmental specialists from We Care Services for Children and Baby Builders, each eight-week session provides engaging games, songs and activities focused on all areas of a child’s development: communication, gross motor, fine motor, problem solving and personal-social. Parents receive information and tips on how to strengthen their child’s development, as well as activities and ideas to try at home.
When the playgroup session ends, children receive another round of developmental screening. Most children re-screened made improvements in their development, particularly with communication, fine motor, and problem-solving skills. These children had higher screening scores and many no longer needed services.
See the playgroups in action and hear from parents how they’ve helped their children:
How to Get Referred to a Playgroup
Children are referred to the groups after receiving developmental screening at a First 5 Center indicating a delay in their development. Parents interested in learning more, should contact a local First 5 Center.