LA libreria: una lista de libros temática

Lista de libros de Quality Start LA & LA librería

Presentamos selecciones de libros de alta calidad en forma bilingüe y en español, con nuevas listas de libros temáticas trimestrales.

Haga clic a las imágenes debajo para descargar las versiones PDF.


Leer en inglés

¿Busca más recursos excelentes?

Explore la colección de lista de librosguía de actividades para niños/asrecursos de coronavirus, y guía de actividades navideñas de Quality Start LA.

Dine & Discuss – Family Engagement Webinar Series – Note Sheet Resource

"Dine & Discuss" Webinars - Note Taking Resource

English: Before attending any of our “Dine & Discuss” webinars, check out this Webinar Note Sheet PDF to support your learning! Feel free to use it as inspiration for your note-taking or as a handy print-out. 

Seminarios web de "Cena y discusión" -
Recurso para tomar apuntes

Español: Antes de asistir a nuestros seminarios web de “Cena y discusión”, ¡vea esta plantilla de apuntes en PDF para apoyar su aprendizaje! Siéntase libre de usarlo como inspiración para tomar apuntes o como una hoja impresa lista para usar. 

Week of the Young Child Activity Guides

Celebrating The Week of the Young Child

Click on the activity guides below for PDF versions of each guide and to access fun, interactive ways to celebrate each day of NAEYC’s Week of the Young Child at home or in your early learning programs.  

Each activity guide also has underlined activities that link to additional resources.  Check them out!

Celebrando La Semana del Niño/a Pequeño/a

Haga clic en las guías de actividades debajo para obtener PDFs de cada guía y acceder formas divertidas e interactivas de celebrar cada día de la Semana del/a Niño/a Pequeño de NAEYC – sea en casa o en sus programas de aprendizaje temprano.

Cada guía de actividades también tiene actividades subrayadas que son enlaces a recursos adicionales. ¡Écheles un vistazo!

Music Monday / Lunes de música

Tasty Tuesday/ Martes de Cocina

Work Together Wednesday /
Miércoles de trabajo en conjunto

Artsy Thursday / Jueves de Arte

Family Friday / Viernes de familia

Encouraging Early Math Skills At Home

March 22nd, 2021, 12:15pm

Lea este artículo en español

Did you know early math skills are one of the best predictors of children’s math and reading skills in late elementary school? Children with strong early math skills are more likely to graduate from high school and attend college based on Mattera and Morris’s 2017 study. Yet, many people, including ourselves and the families we serve, often have negative mindsets when it comes to math.  We frequently hear statements such as, “math is hard”, “young children must sit down to learn math”, “I had trouble with math when I was a kid, so I won’t be much help to my child.”

As early educators we can challenge these ideas by highlighting for families how early math is not just counting, but part of our everyday lives. From tile patterns on the floor to counting cereal, math is already part of a child’s day-to-day experience. As their first teachers, families are an important partner in setting strong early math foundations for children.

Throughout this tip we will explore how to support families in strengthening their child’s early math skills through developmentally appropriate and family-friendly activities. We will pay special attention to how we can help families feel more comfortable engaging in early math at home through accessible, everyday activities.  

Strengthening Families Protective Factor: Supporting Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development Via Early Math Skills

We can help strengthen families’ understanding of what early math milestones to expect and what activities are developmentally appropriate to help children learn new sills.  Check out the chart below for common milestones from and age-related activities:

Note: Each child is different and develops on their own timeline within the ranges above.  If you have any concerns about the development of a child in your care, please contact your local resource center or visit First 5 LA’s site for more information.

Talking Points for Families:
Approaching Early Math with a Growth Mindset

One of the most powerful ways to support early learning is cultivating a growth mindset in our little ones. A “growth mindset” is the belief that intelligence and ability can be developed with practice. On the other hand, someone with a “fixed mindset” will see their qualities as fixed traits that cannot change. Helping families learn about and utilize a growth mindset when supporting their little ones’ early math skills is key to encouraging families to engage in math activities at home.  Below are helpful talking points for families:

  • Recognize discomfort, emphasize strengths: Pay attention to verbal and body language families share when talking about math. If families express or seem uncomfortable with math, their children will likely feel the same.  It is important that we use positive, strengths-based talk and a growth mindset when talking with families about their ability to support their little ones with early math skills.
    • ex. “We’re always learning, just like our kids. When you show your child that you’re open to learning math skills, they will follow your lead.”
    • “When we learn and make mistakes, we show our children that it’s ok to make mistakes as long as we learn from them and try again.”
  • Connect to new family activitiesMake math a family thing, whether it involves reading storybooks involving math, using more “math” talk at home, such as shapes, counting, and quantity, or talking about math more often in conversations as a family. Everyday is an opportunity to learn!
  • Appreciate the Journey: A growth mindset emphasizes the value of the learning process; that is where we learn from our mistakes, make the effort to practice, and show perseverance against challenges. Instead of focusing on “getting it right”, families can encourage their kids by using the growth mindset phrases like the ones in the callout box to the side.

Talking to Kids: Growth Mindset

  • “Wow! You worked really hard on this!”
  • “Why don’t we try a different way?”
  • “I saw how much fun you had doing that activity.”
  • “I see you are having a tough time with this. That’s okay, you gave it a first try. Let’s try another way!”
  • “I know that was difficult for you, but your hard work paid off!”

Talking to Kids: Fixed Mindset

  • “Look at how smart you are!”
  • “Maybe you’re just not good at this.”
  • “You’re a real natural at this!”
  • “No, that’s wrong. Try harder. Maybe if you paid more attention, you’ll get this.”
  • “That was way too hard. I hope we never have to do that again!”,
  • Everything in Due Time: Many families may feel pressure to have their children achieve certain math skills by the time they reach a certain age – say, counting by 2’s by 5 years old, for example, which may or may not be realistic. Encourage families to praise children for the learning process instead of an end goal. Kids will learn the necessary skills “in due time” and when their brains are ready.  This will lead to less frustration and more enjoyment of learning for both children and family members.
  • Math is a part of Play: As was highlighted in previous section of this tip, kids learn and explore basic math ideas best when playing. As early educators, we can highlight for families how math shows up in a numerous ways during child’s play and give families examples of math games to use to support early math learning – like those on the Mixing In Math website.
  • Encouraging kids to love math! When adults enjoy the learning process and demonstrate a positive attitude towards math activities, children are likely to adopt the same attitudes. Encourage family members to use positive messaging around math concepts, such as, “My favorite shape is a circle. What shape do you like?” “Can you help me count apples at the grocery store? I love doing counting activities with you.” Check out this inspirational video!

Let’s Bring This Home: How Can We Support Families?

As we take next steps to support families in developing early math habits at home, consider these ideas as inspiration:

Side-by-Side: Guiding Families Through Early Math

  • Exit Activity: Post a simple math-related prompt for families to do with their child as they exit your early learning program. A few examples:
    • “Look for things shaped like triangle and circles on your way home!”
    • “Count how many blue cars you see on your drive!”
    • “Use shoes to measure how tall some of your furniture is at home!”
  • Host a Family Math Night: Whether in person or virtually, consider hosting an event with different types of interactive, early math activities. These events can be a great space to further discuss creative ideas and increase family confidence in supporting early math skills!
    • Make sure this event includes interactive, play-based activities for families that can be done in their daily lives.
    • Use a theme: Grocery Store Math, Storybook Math, Mealtime Math, 5 minute Math, and others are great ways to show that math occurs everywhere and in many ways.
  • Address Concerns: Be available to address families concerns about early math. These may occur during informal conversations at pick up or drop off or during more formal conferences. Always be ready to share resources to help build families confidence and knowledge about early math. Consider using this resource from Zero To Three to guide conversations with families about how kids develop early math skills and about their role as their child’s first teacher.

On Their Own: Providing Families with Resources

  • Next Steps: After finishing a math activity, send kids home with a follow up activity to further explore the topic with their families (make sure the activity is translated and uses readily available materials).
  • Provide Weekly Activities: Share weekly math activity hand-outs that exercise and strengthen math skills in fun, hands-on ways – like hopscotch, water balloon math, building block activities, etc.
  • Share Videos or Pictures: Whether it’s something created in your program or an activity found online like Sesame Street in Communities’ Pattern Play, share videos and pictures with family-friendly math activities! Share these via email, text, and/or on your program’s website.
  • Use Books to Support Early Math: Use storybooks like Sesame Street in Communities’ Elmo’s Math Adventure to highlight fun times with math! Parents can use stories with positive messaging like “Math is a fun!” alongside Elmo and Abby. Check out these 40 Children’s Books That Foster a Love of Math, for more ideas!

*For support in designing a virtual event with families, check out our QSLA Connect course!

As always, consider what options work best for your program, families and staff capacity.

Supporting families by breaking the ice around math can make a big difference in how comfortable families feel engaging in early math activities at home. Consider the information and resources shared here as a jumping off point to further strengthen families’ knowledge of parenting and child development. Families are counting on us for guidance to ensure their children have the tools and skills they need to be successful in school and in life. 

Cristina Espinoza
Family Education Coordinator, Quality Start Los Angeles

Cristina Espinoza has worked as a family and youth development professional for 5 years, including having served as a Peace Corps Volunteer as a youth development promoter in Costa Rica. In conjunction with Quality Start Los Angeles, Cristina is passionate about supporting families to feel empowered in the changing landscape of their surroundings with their children’s wellbeing at the forefront.  She is a champion of strengths-based systems and services that build resilient families and youth.

Comprehensive Early Learning Programs Espanol

¿Interesado en llevar su programa al siguiente nivel? ¡Únase a Quality Start LA hoy!

¿Tiene usted un centro de cuidado infantil que recibe fondos de CSPP?

¡Quality Start Los Ángeles está inscribiendo AHORA!

¡Inscríbase hoy!

NOTASi ya ha enviado una solicitud, su programa actualmente está en la lista de espera. Por favor, no envíe una nueva solicitud.

*Para cumplir con todas las pautas actuales de salud y seguridad, todos los servicios de capacitación y desarrollo profesional de QSLA se ofrecen virtualmente, hasta nuevo aviso.

Quality Start Los Ángeles (QSLA) ha hecho un compromiso para asegurar la equidad en el sistema de aprendizaje temprano en el condado de Los Ángeles. Como resultado, QSLA ha analizado los datos disponibles para identificar a las comunidades de mayor prioridad en dicho condado, en donde los esfuerzos de inscripción de QSLA se enfocarán. La meta de QSLA es asegurar que los recursos y servicios estén enfocados en los programas de educación temprana, y en las comunidades que tradicionalmente han recibido una distribución desigual o un acceso limitado a los apoyos y servicios programáticos.

Aunque los proveedores en comunidades no identificadas como de mayor prioridad podrán potencialmente inscribirse en QSLA, estamos ofreciendo acceso prioritario a los proveedores de las áreas designadas. Los espacios restantes serán ofrecidos a los solicitantes basados en los otros criterios de inscripción. Para conocer más sobre los criterios que usamos al inscribir nuevos programas en QSLA, haga clic aquí*.

  Haga clic aquí para PDF

  • Apoyo individual de un consejero/a altamente capacitado/a. Juntos, ustedes desarrollarán un plan personalizado de mejora de la calidad (QIP por sus siglas en inglés) el cual trazará las metas para ese año, con responsabilidad incorporada ¡para ayudarle a alcanzar esas metas!
  • Acceso ilimitado a oportunidades de desarrollo profesional de vanguardia, ¡disponible en inglés y en español por nuestros expertos de QSLA, así como nuestros muchos socios locales, estatales y nacionales!
  • Reciba una visión integral de su programa a través de un sistema oficial de calificación Quality Counts California basado en la Matriz de Calificación QCC ¡para ayudar a establecer las metas de mejora de calidad de su programa!
  • Asistencia técnica individualizada (TA por sus siglas en inglés) para preparar a su programa en el proceso de evaluación y calificación.
  • Oportunidades de aprendizaje entre colegas, de tal manera que usted pueda aprender y compartir sus éxitos y soluciones con compañeros/as proveedores/as de aprendizaje temprano.
  • Acceso a recursos de nuestros expertos/as, incluyendo consejos y herramientas de educadores de la familia y educadores de edad temprana.

¡Haga clic en las siguientes imágenes para descargar la versión PDF de estos volantes!


P. ¿Qué tipos de proveedores/as son elegibles para unirse al Modelo Integral de QSLA?

R. Cualquier centro de educación temprana con licencia que reciba fondos de CSPP puede solicitar participar en el Modelo Integral de QSLA. Su licencia debe estar al día por 6 meses antes de solicitar participar en QSLA. Ya sea que usted es un/a veterano/a en el campo del aprendizaje temprano o sea totalmente nuevo/a, ¡QSLA es para usted!

P. Si soy parte de una agencia que tiene ya varios centros participando en QSLA, ¿puedo completar una solicitud para los centros con fondos de CSPP que aún no estén participando? 

R.  Si. Nosotros alentamos a las agencias a completar una solicitud para todos los centros que aún no participen en QSLA, para ambos, con o sin fondos de CSPP. Si usted tiene un centro que no recibe fondos de CSPP, encuentre más información sobre el modelo QSLA aquí.

P.  ¿Puedo inscribirme si ya estaba inscrito/a previamente, pero me di de baja o ya no soy participante por alguna otra razón?

R. Usted puede reinscribirse en el Modelo Integral de QSLA siempre y cuando su centro aún tenga licencia, reciba fondos de CSPP, y esté al día por al menos 6 meses.

P.  Si previamente recibí una calificación de QSLA, pero me di de baja del programa, ¿tendré que ser calificado/a nuevamente?

R.  Si. Usted tendrá que ser calificado/a nuevamente; las calificaciones están basadas en el ambiente/entorno del aula, en las interacciones de los maestros/as, y en las capacidades del personal, las cuales cambian frecuentemente. La buena noticia es que una vez que ha sido calificado/a nuevamente, su nivel de calificación es valido por 3 años si usted recibe un Nivel 1-3, o por 5 años si recibe un Nivel 4-5.

P.  ¿Es este modelo de QSLA el mismo que requiere una evaluación de UCLA?

R.  Si. Este modelo de mejora de la calidad incluye una observación externa utilizando la Escala de Calificación Ambiental (ERS por sus siglas en inglés) y las herramientas CLASS (interacción maestro-niño) como parte del proceso de calificación de la calidad. Todos los proveedores/as de cuidado infantil financiados por CSPP recientemente inscritos en QSLA participarán en este nuevo modelo integral de evaluación.

 P.  ¿Están los incentivos de este modelo de QSLA basados en una calificación?

 R.  Si, los incentivos están basados en el nivel de calificación del centro infantil.

  • Nivel 2 los/as proveedores/as recibirán $2000 por cada centro
  • Nivel 3 los/as proveedores/as recibirán $4000 por cada centro
  • Nivel 4 los/as proveedores/as recibirán $6000 por cada centro
  • Nivel 5 los/as proveedores/as recibirán $8000 por cada centro

P.  ¿Son los incentivos otorgados individualmente por cada aula, o son otorgados para todo el centro infantil?

R.  Los incentivos son otorgados para todo el centro infantil.

P.  Tengo amigos cuyos centros están participando en QSLA, ¿en que difiere este modelo de QSLA de el de ellos?

R.  Hay algunas similitudes y diferencias entre este y el modelo para centros No financiados por CSPP y para centros infantiles basados en el hogar (FCCs) que participan en QSLA:


  • Evaluación formal: En este modelo de QSLA, hay una evaluación formal que incluye instrumentos de valoración como CLASS o la escala de calificación ERS, así como la sumisión de documentación. Los/as proveedores/as participantes en este modelo deben completar una evaluación de QSLA basada en la Matriz de Calificación QCC (enlace)
  • Publicar calificaciones: Todos los/as proveedores/as en este modelo tendrán sus calificaciones de QSLA publicadas en el sitio web de QSLA, tal como lo requiere Quality Counts California. La calificación de un centro es válida por 3 años (para centros con calificación Nivel 1-3), y por 5 años (para centros con calificación Nivel 4-5)
  • Programa de consejeros: Los programas de aprendizaje temprano recibirán apoyo extra de un/a consejero/a de QSLA. Proveedores/as de Nivel 1-3 recibirán al menos 6 visitas por año de un/a consejero/a, por cada aula del centro infantil. Los/as proveedores/as del Nivel 4-5 establecerán las metas y acciones de Mejora de la Calidad y se reunirán con su consejero/a de programa 2 veces por año para revisar y actualizar dichas metas y planes de acción.


TODOS los/as proveedores/as de QSLA, sin importar en que modelo estén participando:

  • Tendrán acceso a los cursos de desarrollo profesional, talleres, y comunidades de aprendizaje de QSLA.
  • Tendrán acceso a los recursos digitales de QSLA, al contenido del sitio web, etc.
  • Desarrollarán un Plan de Mejora de la Calidad personalizado (QIP) y recibirán una revisión anual de un/a consejero/a capacitado/a de QSLA para dar seguimiento con el fin de proveer apoyo y orientación para alcanzar las metas.
  • Recibirán apoyo para crear un perfil en el Registro de la Fuerza Laboral de ECE de California el cual ayuda a educadores/as de la primera infancia a contabilizar las horas de desarrollo profesional y a identificar oportunidades continuas de capacitación.

P. ¿Cuánto tiempo tomará llenar la solicitud?

R. La solicitud debe tomar solamente unos 15 minutos y puede hacerse en partes. Si usted necesita detenerse al completar la solicitud, puede guardarla y comenzar otra vez cuando sea más conveniente.

P. ¿Qué debo hacer si tengo preguntas sobre el llenado de la solicitud?

R.  Las instrucciones para llenar la solicitud están disponibles aquí: Centro de aprendizaje temprano (inglés), Hogar de cuidado infantil familiar (español) (inglés)

P. ¿Existe una manera de verificar el estado de mi solicitud, o de actualizar mis datos u otra información después de haberla completado?

R.  Asegúrese de guardar su nombre de usuario y contraseña después de registrarse, los necesitará para verificar el estado de su solicitud y/o actualizar sus datos en este enlace: QSLA Solicitud

P. ¿Qué pasa después de enviar mi solicitud? ¿Cuáles son los siguientes pasos para mi inscripción?

R.  Una vez que su solicitud sea completada, usted recibirá una notificación de que ha sido agregado(a) a una lista de espera (por favor revise su carpeta SPAM, si no recibe tal notificación en la carpeta principal o bandeja de entrada de su correo electrónico). Si usted es elegido, será contactado para su inscripción en una fecha posterior.

Quality Start Los Angeles (QSLA) is Los Angeles’ county-wide system that partners with early learning providers to build upon and improve the quality of care they provide to children birth to five, ensuring children are nurtured in a high quality environment, ready for school, and prepared for life. 

Comprehensive Early Learning Programs

Interested in taking your program to the next level? Join Quality Start LA Today!

Are you a California State Preschool Program (CSPP)?

Quality Start Los Angeles is enrolling NOW!

Enroll today!

NOTE: If you have already submitted an application, you are currently on the waitlist. Please do not submit a new application.  Existing QSLA providers DO NOT need to submit a new application to continue participating. 

*To adhere with all current health and safety guidelines, all QSLA coaching and professional development services are being offered virtually, until further notice. 

 Have Questions?  Contact QSLA at 855-507-4443 or

Quality Start Los Angeles (QSLA) has made a commitment to ensure equity across the LA County early learning system. As a result, QSLA has analyzed available data to identify high priority communities in Los Angeles County where QSLA will focus its enrollment efforts. QSLA’s goal is to ensure that its resources and services are focused on the early learning programs and communities that have traditionally received an uneven distribution of, or limited access to, programmatic supports and services.

Although providers in communities not identified as highest priority will have the potential to enroll in QSLA, we are offering priority access to providers in the designated areas first. Remaining slots will be offered to applicants based on the other identified enrollment criteria. To learn more about the criteria we use for enrolling new sites to QSLA, click here*.

Click here for PDF of statement

  •  One-on-one support from a highly trained program coach. Together, you will develop a customized Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) which maps out your goals for the year, with built-in accountability to help you achieve these goals!
  • Unlimited access to cutting-edge professional development opportunities–offered in both English and Spanish, by our own QSLA experts as well as by our many state, local and national partners!
  • Receive a comprehensive snapshot of your program through an official Quality Counts California rating based on the QCC Rating matrix that will help you establish quality improvement goals for your site! 
  • Individualized technical assistance (TA) to prepare your site for the  assessment and rating process. 
  • Peer-to-peer learning opportunities, so you can learn alongside, and share successes and solutions with fellow early learning providers.
  • Access to  resources from our experts, including family and early educator tips and toolkits.

Click the image below to download the PDF version of this flyer! 


Q.  What types of providers are eligible to join QSLA’s Comprehensive Model?

A.  Any licensed CSPP-funded center can apply to QSLA’s Comprehensive Model.  Your license must be  in good standing for 6 months prior to submitting your QSLA application.  Whether you’re a veteran in the early learning field, or a brand new provider, QSLA is for you!

Q.  If I am part of an agency that has several sites already participating in QSLA, can I submit an application for those sites with CSPP funding not yet participating?

A. Yes, we encourage agencies to submit applications for all sites not yet participating in QSLA, both sites with and sites without CSPP funding.  If you have sites without CSPP funding, please learn more about that  QSLA model here.  

Q. Can I enroll  if I was previously in QSLA but withdrew or am no longer participating for other reasons?

A. Yes, you can re-enroll for QSLA’s Comprehensive Model, as long as you are still a licensed CSPP-funded center and  in good-standing for at least 6 months.

Q. If I previously received a QSLA rating, but then withdrew from the program, will I need to be rated again? 

 A. Yes, you will need to be rated again; ratings are based on classroom environments, teacher-interactions, and staff qualifications which often change.  The good news is, once you are rated again, your tier rating is valid for 3 years if you receive a Tier 1-3, or 5 years if you receive a tier 4-5. 

Q. Is this the same QSLA model that requires an assessment from UCLA?

A.Yes, this  quality improvement model does include external observations using the Environmental Rating Scale (ERS) and CLASS (teacher-child Interaction) tools as part of it’s  quality rating process. All CSPP-funded providers newly enrolled in QSLA will participate in this comprehensive, full-assessment model.

Q. Are the incentives for this QSLA model based on a rating?

A. Yes, incentives are based on site’s Tier Rating. 

  • Tier 2 providers will receive $2000 per site
  • Tier 3 providers will receive $4,000 per site
  • Tier 4 providers will receive $6000 per site
  • Tier 5 providers will receive $8,000 per site. 

Q. Are incentives awarded to individual classrooms at a center or are they awarded to the entire site?

A. Incentives are awarded to the entire site.  

Q. I have friends whose sites are participating in QSLA; how is this QSLA model different from theirs?

A. There are a few similarities and differences between this model and the one for non-CSPP-funded centers and Family Child Care homes (FCCs)  participating in QSLA:

  • Differences
    • Formal Assessment: In this QSLA mode,  there is a formal assessment,  that includes CLASS and Environment Rating Scale (ERS) assessments as well as other documentation submissions. Providers participating in this model must complete a QSLA Assessment based on the QCC Rating Matrix (link).
    • Posted Ratings: All providers in this model will have their QSLA ratings  posted on the QSLA website, as required by Quality Counts California. A site’s rating is valid for 3 years (for sites with a rating of Tier 1-3), and 5 years (for sites with rating of Tier 4-5). 
    • Program Coaching:  Early learning programs will receive extra support from a QSLA program coach. Tier 1-3 providers will receive at least 6 coaching visits per year, for each classroom at the site.  Tier 4 and 5 providers will establish site level Quality Improvement goals and action items and meet with their program coach bi-annually to review and update those goals and action plans.   
  • Similarities

      ALL QSLA providers, regardless of what model they are participating in, will:

    • Have access to ALL QSLA professional development trainings, workshops, and learning communities.
    • Have access to QSLA’s digital resources, website content, etc. 
    • Develop a customized Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) and receive a follow-up check-in each year to receive support and guidance from a trained QSLA coach on achieving those goals. 
    • Receive support when creating a profile on the California ECE Workforce Registry, which helps early educators track professional development training hours and identify on-going training opportunities.  

Q.  How long should the application take to complete?

A.  The application should take only about 15 minutes and can be done in parts.  If you need to stop working on the application, you can save and start again when it is more convenient. 

Q.  What do I do if I have questions about how to complete the application?

A.  Application instructions are available here: Center-Based Program (English), Family Child Care Home (Spanish) (English)

Click here for the NEW QSLA Center On-line Application User Guide!

Q.  Is there a way to check the status of my application or update contact or other information after I’ve completed it?

A.  Be sure to save your username and password after registering – you will need this to check the status of your application and/or update contact information at this link: QSLA Application

Q.  What happens after I submit my application? What are next steps for my enrollment?

A.  Once your application is complete, you will receive a notification that you have been placed on a waitlist. (Please check your spam folder, if you do not receive this notification in your main e-mail folder) If selected, you will be contacted about your enrollment at a later date. 

 If your program is not chosen, you will also receive an e-mail notifying you that your site has not been selected but will remain on the waitlist for the next enrollment period. 

Quality Start Los Angeles (QSLA) is Los Angeles’ county-wide system that partners with early learning providers to build upon and improve the quality of care they provide to children birth to five, ensuring children are nurtured in a high quality environment, ready for school, and prepared for life. 

Enhancing Early Literacy Through Family Engagement

February 23rd, 2021, 6:21pm

Lea este artículo en español

Did you know: newborn babies have about 100 billion neurons? By the time they are 3 years old, babies have about 1,000 trillion connections between those neurons. The first three years of a child’s life are the most critical for speech and language development because this critical growth stage is when their brain is best able to absorb language.  

Research shows that reading, talking, and singing with children are the most important activities that families and early educators can do to support children’s early literacy skills. When it comes to reading to our little ones, just 15 minutes daily, starting at birth, can make a big difference! As babies learn language skills best through interactions, families and caregivers play a key role in a child’s brain development in these first years of life. 

Throughout our tip this month, we’ll highlight ways that you can support families, both in person and virtually, to build early literacy practices into their day-to-day interactions with their children at home. 

Strengthening Families Protective Factor: Supporting Knowledge of Parenting & Child Development Via Early Literacy Knowledge

As we work in partnership with families, we serve as a trusted source of information on what to expect for their child’s development and how to parent accordingly. As early educators, we can help strengthen families’ understanding of what early literacy milestones to expect and what is developmentally appropriate.  See below for some common milestones:

Age Range

Learning and Communicative Behaviors

Babies: Birthday to 12 Months

ü  Show what they think and feel by using their sounds, facial expressions, and body movements

ü  Learn to be good communicators when their caregivers respond to their sounds and actions

ü  Learn by playing!

ü  Learn to love books and reading when their caregivers read to them often

Young Toddlers: 12-24 Months

ü  Use more sounds and actions to let us know what they think and feel

ü  Learn to say many new words

ü  Benefit from hearing stories that help them learn the meaning of words and develop a love of reading.

ü  Can put together a few words, like “Mama, up?”

Older Toddlers: 24-36 Months

ü  Learn how to pretend; this is an important skill, particularly in building their imagination and thinking skills

ü  Can put words together to share their thoughts and feelings

ü  Learn how ideas are connected. This is the reason they ask “Why?” all the time!

Preschoolers: 3-5 Years

ü  Begin to understand that words are for sharing ideas and information

ü  Understand stories with plots. They can also tell us stories with a beginning, middle, and end.

ü  Imitate adult writing by scribbling, including making lines, squiggles, and circles

ü  Are figuring out how sounds make up works. They are also learning the names and shapes of letters.

For more detailed information on how to help children become confident readers and writers from birth by age categories, check out Zero To Three’s guide here.

Note: Each child is different and develops on their own timelines within the ranges above.  If you have any concerns about the development of a child in your care, please contact your local resource center or visit First 5 LA’s site.

Remember, teaching children between the ages of 0-5 yrs to read is not developmentally appropriate. According to Zero To Three’s research, it’s most important that children learn early literacy skills through enjoyment of books, literacy-rich experiences, and positive interactions with adults related to reading. In fact, formally teaching young children to read when they aren’t ready yet is counterproductive and may create negative associations between reading and books and failure.

Let's Discuss: Interview with a Children's Librarian

Ahead we have a 10-minute video interview with Joanna Fabicon, a Children’s Librarian with the Los Angeles Public Library. Joanna brings her expertise and experience to this video as she shares some common early literacy myths, family-friendly early literacy strategies, and how to make reading fun!

Want more tips from your local librarians?  Check out the Los Angeles Public Library’s Birth to 5 website for great early literacy programs, online books, physical book bundles to go, virtual pre-school events, booklists, fun games and more! All of these are free of charge with a Los Angeles Public Library card! These are great resources to use in both early education programs and for families at home.

Early Literacy Habits: Talk, Read, Sing, Write, Play

As Joanna shared in the video, Talk, Read, Sing, Write, Play are 5 key early learning habits that help prepare our children for reading and learning; they are “bridges” to literacy. Let’s break these habits down, based on this article:

  • Sing: Singing is a great way to learn about language. When we sing, the sounds that make up words become clearer.
  • Talk: Children need to receive and create language to learn it.
  • Read: Share books together! More detail is shared in the next section.
  • Write: Scribble, draw, and make tactile art. Scribbles come before adult writing!
  • Play: Children experience the world through play, which in turns builds their fine and gross motor skills, cognition, language and social skills.

Read this creative article Sing, Talk, Read, Write, Play: Building Early Literacy Skills for great in-depth examples for each type of activity that are suitable for children of all abilities!

How Can We Share These Best Practices with Families:

No matter which method we use to engage families in at-home early literacy activities, we must always make sure that resources are culturally responsive, reflective of the families we serve and as much as possible, available in the home languages of our families. See the resources at the end of this tip for some great on-line resources to support your efforts!


  • E-mail or text links to age appropriate Read-Alouds that families can enjoy together
  • Share early literacy resources, such as First 5 CA’s
  • Create a video of an early educator at your program sharing tips for reading aloud to young children (i.e. using fun voices, stopping to ask questions or look at pictures, explaining new vocabulary, etc.) and send it to families
  • Host a virtual family meeting focused on age appropriate early literacy activities (i.e. serve return for infants/toddlers, sound scavenger hunts for preschoolers, singing songs, telling stories, and the importance of reading aloud for 15 minutes every day) . For information on how to host virtual events for families, check out our Family Engagement Webinar YouTube video on the matter!
  • Share information about virtual story-times and activities from local libraries

In Person (following health and safety COVID 19 procedures):

  • Create a lending library: As not all families can afford books, allow families to borrow books each week
  • Send home a flyer or newsletter with family literacy activities or read-aloud tips
  • Print out a story for families to take home along with a craft to accompany the story (i.e. a short book and a puppet cutout or related craft)
  • We can also support families by modeling these behaviors through everyday actions, intentional programming, and connecting them to accessible resources.
  • For more direct approaches, we can speak with families at end-of-day check-in or during family conferences.
  • (Post COVID) Host in-person workshops on early literacy topics, with hands on activities and resources

Talking Points for Families: The Importance of Reading at Home

As early educators, we understand the importance of reading to children from birth, but we cannot assume that everyone has that knowledge.  Thus, it is important that we explain to our families, why early literacy skills and reading aloud (even for infants) is an essential habit that can have a huge effect on their child’s development. Below are some of the key “Why”s of at-home reading that we can share with our families:

  • Language Development: The number of words children know upon entering kindergarten is a key predictor of success.
  • Instilling a Love of Reading: A family’s example demonstrates that reading is important, pleasurable, and valued.
  • Knowledge Gained and Shared: Books are informative; families can learn with their children as they read, showing that learning is a family value
  • Literacy Skill Building: Reading aloud builds vocabulary, phonics (the relationship between sounds and letters), and grammar skills, helps children become familiar with printed texts, develops storytelling, imagination and comprehension skills
  • Brain Development: Children develop critical language skills from birth to age 3, so it’s important to take advantage of their brain’s incredible growth and connection-building during this period.
  • Bonding: Sharing a story, cuddling, and connecting over newfound knowledge through reading further strengthens a family’s bond with their child.

Most importantly, we need to support and build the confidence of our families in their role of being their child’s first and most valuable teacher. Through the strong, supportive relationships that we build with families, we can create a home-school connection that benefits both the family and the child in developing life-long skills.

Literacy and Dual-Language Learners

How Can We Support Families of Dual Language Learners with Early Literacy at Home?

Many of our programs serve diverse families who speak languages other than English at home. It’s important to consider what we know about a family’s language usage at home and how we can support their child’s language development in English as well as in their home language(s). Some facts about supporting the early literacy development of dual language learning that are worth noting:

  1. Exposure to both languages daily: Dual language learners benefit most when they similar amounts of exposure to high-quality input in each language everyday – speaking and listening. Children will often learn foundational skills in one language which makes it easier to transfer them to a second.
  2. Grammar takes time: Children learning two languages might use words from both languages in the same sentence or confuse grammar rules. This is a normal part of Being a dual language learner. Children often learn their home language grammar first and then their second language.
  3. Speaking in two languages is difficult: Some children may not talk much when they start using a second language. This “silent period” can last for several months. This is normal and will evolve as the child feels more comfortable in both languages.
  4. Children can successfully learn two languages: Learning more than one language at the same time is not confusing to young children. Rather, it helps them develop multiple, but inter-related, language systems. It also increases their brain function. Switching between languages gives children an increased ability to monitor their environment more efficiently.

In working with families, we should encourage them to speak their home language at home with the comfort of knowing we will incorporate supports for the home language in our early education programs as well. Some ways families and early educators help children develop dual-language skills include:

  • Reading books in different languages.
  • Listening to music in different languages. Listening to songs over and over again helps children learn and understand words.
  • Pointing and describing the world around children in multiple languages. Programs can label items in more than one language including toys, animals, colors, etc.
  • Inviting children to share their expertise and share how to say a new word in their home language.
  • Allowing children to discuss a topic or learn a new skill in whichever language they prefer, while supporting their development of new vocabulary and content understanding in their second language.

Dig Deep: Consider checking out the ECE Competencies video on Dual-Language Development for more information and inspiration; some topics include: dual-language program models and strategies, development of the home language and of English, and relationships with families of dual-language learners.

Early Literacy Resources

  • Check out these ready-to-use resources for early education programs and family homes!
  • Check out the wide variety of QSLA’s Early Literacy Resources, offered in English and Spanish; including an Early Literacy Toolkit with guidance on how to create reading routines, bring in fun, create a book nook, & storytelling!
  • QSLA also offers a variety of themed booklists on topics including culture, traditions, feelings, holidays, and history – in English & Spanish!
  • QSLA has 2 Reading Strategies from Classroom to Home infographics – with guidance for early educators and families in both English and Spanish!
  • LA County Public Library offers story time (virtually for the time being), parent-child workshops, and a rich variety of virtual resources through Tumblebook Library!
  • Colorín Colorado shares resources for families and early educators – including guides, links to other resources by state, reading tips and English Language Learner information, all in Spanish and English!
  • Reading Rocket’s Preschool page has great informational resources for reading and writing reading readiness including articles, developmentally-appropriate activities, booklists, developmental milestones, and more – great for both early educators and families seeking understanding and guidance!
  • – 15 Read Aloud Tips for Babies and Toddlers. Check out their downloads page for tips, posters, infographics, bookmarks, parent handouts, and more!
  • Looking for a read aloud videos? Check out Storytime with Ryan & Craig and ONSCR!

As we already incorporate reading and early literacy in our work as early educators, this is a pivotal chance to intentionally engage families as part of each child’s education team. On that note, there are some great opportunities coming up where we can tie in early literacy skills with our family engagement programming including:

Let’s keep building young children’s early literacy skills through teamwork and creativity alongside their families!


Cristina Espinoza
Family Education Coordinator, Quality Start Los Angeles

Cristina Espinoza has worked as a family and youth development professional for 5 years, including having served as a Peace Corps Volunteer as a youth development promoter in Costa Rica. Alongside Quality Start Los Angeles, Cristina is passionate about supporting families to feel empowered in the changing landscape of their surroundings with their children’s wellbeing at the forefront.  She is a champion of strengths-based systems and services that build resilient families and youth.

Creating More Mindful Family Engagement Practices

January 27, 2021, 12:54pm

Lee esta artículo en español 

As we start out this new year, we find ourselves worn out from the emotional toll that 2020 brought. A pandemic, financial challenges, social distancing, a difficult election, a racial reckoning – it was a hard year to say the least. However, in spite of, or possibly as a result of, the challenges, many positive changes occurred as well, such as creative community-building and a greater sense of universal compassion. As we all try to manage the highs and lows of this prolonged crisis and stress, we seek out ways to find balance and bring about any sense of peace and normalcy, for a few minutes or a few hours, amid the everyday stressors.  This is where mindfulness can help us and the families that we serve

Finding ways to best manage these challenges is what inspired a new series of family engagement posts related to trauma-informed care. Trauma results from the exposure to an incident or series of events that are emotionally disturbing or life-threatening with lasting adverse effects on the individual’s mental, physical, social, emotional, and/or spiritual wellbeing. Trauma-informed care understands and considers the pervasive nature of trauma and promotes environments of healing and recovery rather than those that may unintentionally re-traumatize.

The most important factor in reducing the effects of trauma is that children and families have loving, supportive and encouraging adults who support them in times of need. As early childhood professionals, we have the power to be the loving, safe, and consistent caregivers and educators our families need.

Each tip we share in this series will highlight a particular trauma-informed practice. This month, we focus on how we can bring mindfulness to ourselves and to our family engagement practices as a tool to support trauma informed practices.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is defined as moment-by-moment awareness of thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, characterized mainly by “acceptance”—paying attention to thoughts and feelings without trying to determine whether they are “right or wrong”.

Here are some commonly used terms when discussing mindfulness. You may see these throughout the rest of this tip.

  • Internal Awareness – Also known as self-awareness. This describes how clearly we understand our own values, passions, aspirations, fit with our environment, reactions (including thoughts, feelings, behaviors, strengths, and weaknesses), and impact on others.
  • Internal Awareness Practice – an exercise, habit, or activity that helps us connect with our inner world, taking time to recognize, reflect, and/or experiment. These practices are linked to improved emotional, mental, and physical health as well as increased success in our professional roles. Here are some practices we can use for ourselves.
  • Holding Space – a practice of empathy and compassion that helps us put our needs and opinions aside and allow someone to just be and share their feelings. This allows us to create a safe environment for others. Honor any negative emotions (i.e. sadness, anger, fear) by letting the other individual know that their sharing is a sign of strength and courage. Check out this article for more information. For families, taking the time to honor and acknowledge what they are experiencing can be priceless.

For many of us, it seems like a daunting task to take time during the day to stop and be mindful when there is so much else to do, like lead a classroom or program full of young children.  However, it doesn’t have to be.  Making time to bring mindfulness into our lives can be as simple as:

  • Setting an intention for the day (What do you want to accomplish? How do you want to be?)
  • A 5-minute Breathing meditation
  • 10 minutes of Yoga
  • Being present, breathing deep, and encouraging ourselves while driving
  • Eating with all of our 5 senses attuned to the experience and our body’s reactions

With busy schedules and lives, we can find ourselves moving on autopilot and focusing on completing our responsibilities, troubleshooting what may arise. When we bring mindfulness into our lives, we connect with our present once more and hold space for ourselves, where we can recognize and manage emotions that come forward. When our cup is full, we can more fully engage with families – especially those that have experienced traumas themselves. These interactions with families, virtual or in-person, can serve as healthy spaces for families to feel safe, slow down, and bring awareness to themselves and their surroundings.

Mindful Strategies

Here are some strategies for how we can begin using mindful practices in our own lives and in interactions with families:

  • Listen actively –pay attention to the verbal and body language that families are expressing; listen with the goal to understand, not respond
  • Be present – use our body language, such as good eye contact and posture, while pausing other tasks and stopping distractions, to fully take in conversations
  • Use the power of observation – connect with families by objectively observing and narrating what you see in their behavior and language. This approach can have grounding and affirming results when we highlight the strengths the child and family show us in their actions, words, feelings, and body language. (See box for more details)
  • Hold space for what is occurring and the resulting emotions through an open conversation in a comfortable environment. What is the family experiencing? How do the family feel?
    • In particular, identify “negative” emotions – sadness, anger, frustration, etc. – and highlight that feeling and expressing these emotions does not make a person weak. If anything, it takes courage and strength to open up and bring those emotions forward, especially when our society can often promote an idea that struggling is a sign of failure. This can be incredibly powerful message for families to receive.

Using the Power of Observation:

This tool focuses on slowing down and connecting with families through the child’s behavior.

    1) Observe – What is the child doing? What facial expressions can we see?
    2) Narrate – Describe what you see using detail and leaving out opinions.

    3) Pause for the family’s response – Take a moment for the family to reflect, feel seen, simply react to what they see and hear about their child.  

  • Use internal awareness practices – these can be done individually, in partners, or in a group. We can offer these practices in person or virtually; especially using options like Zoom, YouTube, etc. During this time of social distancing, we can also adapt these practices for in-person settings; each individual can spread out 6+ feet apart while wearing a mask and feel part of the practice. These practices can help us get in tune with our thoughts, sensations, and emotions. Some practices include:
    • Grounding and orienting exercises – use our senses to help us feel calm, settled, and focused
    • Breathing practices – focused attention on our breath brings us back to the present moment
    • Gratitude and joy – making a list of what brings us joy or appreciation creates a positive shift in our mindset
    • Play – games with adults and/or children energize us and bring joy and lightness to our shared environments

Check out more examples of mindfulness exercises for families here. If you prefer a video, here is one with mindfulness exercises for families!

Why Is Mindfulness Important?

Mindfulness has proven to be a valuable approach for reducing the symptoms of trauma. As Dr. Jason Linder shares here, the essence of trauma is not based in the here-and-now; rather, it keeps us stuck in the past or constantly fearing the future. By practicing mindfulness, those of us who have experienced trauma can shift our perspective back to our present and heal from past experiences. Some specific benefits to using mindfulness include increased ability to focus and decreased stress and anxiety all of which can help reduce trauma-related symptoms.   

Mindfulness as a Resource for Enhanced Family Engagement

When we have taken the time to learn how to incorporate mindfulness into our own daily routines, we are able to better understand how more mindful practices could enhance our interactions with others, including our own families, co-workers, and the families that we serve. As we seek to build our family engagement culture on a strength-based approach, guided by the Strengthening Families Protective Factors, there are natural connections between Mindfulness and two key Factors: Parental Resilience and Social-Emotional Development of Children.

For a quick overview of the Strengthening Families Protective Factors, please see our Family Engagement Tip from May 2020.

Mindfulness and parental resilience

The families we serve are managing as best they can, pushing forward through these unprecedented times. Just like us, it is impossible to prevent the strong emotions associated with everyday stressors from spilling out in a way that children may notice and feel affected. As part of a family’s support system, our responsive relationships and demonstration of mindful practices with families can help build secure, trusting relationships that can buffer children from stress and support families’ ability to be resilient in the face of challenges. Two great mindfulness activities for families are (1) expressing gratitude before a meal and (2) sense exploration where family members tune into all five senses as they eat, play, walk, etc.; taking in what they see, smell, touch, taste, and hear. These are two examples of mindfulness exercises that support families in recognizing and managing their emotions so they can be resilient in the facing challenges. The mindful techniques that we share with families formally and informally will help support their ability to use them in the future as well as enhance our relationships with those we serve.

Mindfulness as a key for social emotional development

Incorporating and demonstrating mindfulness strategies when engaging with families also helps us support them with another Strengthening Families Protective Factor – the social and emotional development of their child(ren). When children see that we have a trusting and positive relationship with their adult family members it signals to children that they can feel safe trusting and relating to their early educators, thus opening the door to receiving support in identifying, labeling, and better understanding their emotions. When we model mindfulness with families, we simultaneously model social emotional regulation by showing how to slow down, gain awareness of our emotions, and use techniques to manage challenging emotions.

Opportunities to Bring Mindfulness into Staff and Family Interactions

Bringing mindfulness into staff gatherings can positively affect a program’s culture, extending as far as decreasing personal and work-related stress & improving staff bonds.  This can have a positive effect on family-staff interactions, as well. As we have covered in previous family engagement tips in 2019 and 2020, modeling and incorporating program-wide practices with both staff and families through parallel processes can create larger and lasting impacts.

Here are a few examples of how programs of varying sizes can integrate mindfulness into existing staff and family interactions

By modeling these behaviors, site leadership is telling staff and families that it’s okay to take care of yourself at work and when at home caring for children. Consider what your program and staff can comfortably implement with your families.

As our work makes us all too aware of the traumas and challenges families regularly encounter, we also have the power to incorporate these types of mindful, healing practices in our work to support those we serve. Using mindfulness techniques helps us slow down and support families in softening the rough edges of life’s difficulties and the ensuing emotions.

Check out the links below for additional information and great resources!



Cristina Espinoza
Family Education Coordinator, Quality Start Los Angeles

Cristina Espinoza has worked as a family and youth development professional for 5 years, including having served as a Peace Corps Volunteer as a youth development promoter in Costa Rica. In conjunction with Quality Start Los Angeles, Cristina is passionate about supporting families to feel empowered in the changing landscape of their surroundings with their children’s wellbeing at the forefront.  She is a champion of strengths-based systems and services that build resilient families and youth.

Holiday Activities

Quality Start LA Holiday Activity Guides//Guías de actividades

Holidays present an excellent opportunity to introduce high-quality early learning moments. Click on each image below to download a PDF and follow the links. 

Los días festivos presentan una oportunidad excelente para introducir momentos de aprendizaje temprano de alta calidad. Haga clic en cada imagen para descargar un PDF y siga los enlaces.

Looking for more activity guides on early learning concepts? Click here!











Looking for more great resources?//¿Busca más recursos geniales?

Browse Quality Start LA child-friendly activities and booklists. // Heche un vistazo a las actividades y listas de libros adecuados para niños/as de Quality Start Los Ángeles.