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December 2016

Birthdays, Holidays, and Family Gatherings

In her latest blog, Dr. Susan Fowler discusses how you can make holiday and birthday celebrations meaningful and stress-free for your children, especially when they become the center of attention at gatherings. She notes that children with special needs may have less tolerance for noise, new activities, and surprises, so it’s good to have a backup plan if your child needs a break. (The IEL Tip Sheet on Making the Holidays Memorable and Meaningful also has great advice for all families.)

Revised and Updated Tip Sheets Now Available Online

Many people may not know that IEL has been writing its popular Tip Sheets for several years! Each year IEL revisits a number of Tip Sheets and revises them as needed. This year we revised six Tip Sheets, including the popular SIDS: Back to Sleep based on new recommendations to reduce the risk of sleep-related infant deaths. Other revised Tip Sheets include:

Super Story Time

In her latest blog, Dr. Rebecca Swartz stresses the importance of reading together with young children as well as talking about what you read to help build cognitive, social, and emotional skills. She also provides a number of ideas on how caregivers can build on story time, such as acting out stories, creating puppets, using storyboards, drawing pictures, singing songs, and telling stories about you and your child.

Check Out the IEL Quarterly Newsletter

Our latest quarterly newsletter highlights select topics and the latest events in early care and education from around Illinois and the nation. The October–December 2016 newsletter provides a look at sensible screen time for young children, the Monarch Award winner, the Milestones in Action resources from the CDC, and new child care and development fund regulations.

Help Us Serve You Better

The IEL Project wants to hear from you to learn how we can best serve you through our Web-based resources. Please complete our online survey and let us know how we can support you in your role as a parent, caregiver, or teacher of young children.

Question Answering Service

The Illinois Early Learning Project provides reliable resources and information in response to your questions on the parenting, care, and education of young children in Illinois. To take advantage of this service, please call our toll-free number at (877) 275-3227 during business hours or send us your question using our online form.

Upcoming Conferences

Opening Minds, Jan. 25–28, Chicago, IL

Illinois Head Start Association Annual Training and Parent Institute, Feb. 1–3, Normal, IL

Here and Now: Respecting Childhood (Collaboration for Early Childhood’s 14th Annual Symposium), Feb. 25, Oak Park, IL

36th Annual PreK and Kindergarten Conference, March 1–3, Schaumburg, IL

Early Childhood Educators of Reform Judaism (ECE-RJ) Conference, March 1–4, Chicago, IL

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We'd Like to Hear From You

For more information about the Illinois Early Learning Project, contact Bernadette Laumann at (877) 275-3227 or