The first years of a child’s life are precious …
Not only are they an important time of learning, but they also provide the lifelong basic foundation for forming relationships with parents, grandparents, siblings, caregivers and friends.
This is the time to provide children with the best in healthy developmental environments.
The Early Learning Institute (ELI) was founded to help families with this important responsibility. We are a private, 501c3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide and promote developmental services, education and support to young children, their families and their community in a variety of settings.
Basically, we play with babies. That is fundamentally what we do at the Early Learning Institute. We are often told we have the best jobs in the world. We agree. But it’s not that simple.
We play with babies because the “work” of young children is play…they learn and grow through every experience, every toy, every interaction. Our work with adults is to help develop and expand their skills as playful teachers and nurturing caregivers, especially when there are developmental challenges or stressful situations. We do this by working together, through play. For example, did you know…
…that Peek-a-boo is a social game that encourages many emerging skills in young babies? It is anticipatory (predictable- gives children a sense of empowerment to know what is coming); encourages language by labeling body parts (hands, face, eyes) and by using imitative sounds; and encourages positive self esteem – which is true for any repetitive game—because children can initiate and receive an adult’s or peer’s attention. Peek-a-boo encourages cognitive development in the form of object permanence--babies learn that if something is covered, it is not gone forever, just hidden from sight. Physically, a child covering her eyes is developing fine motor hand/eye coordination.
…or that Hide and Seek introduces the concept of separation and security? Going away, but knowing you will be found (reunited) promotes independence and connection. Hide and Seek also promotes gross motor (large muscle) development through running, crouching & hiding; encourages language & listening skills: listening for the searcher or hider, being silent, squealing when you are found etc...; and enhances cognitive skills: understanding the above; being silent, waiting, motor planning for hiding etc.
Essentially, we support teachers and caregivers with information and plans to help increase a child’s chances of success; all at no cost.
How Do We Support Success?
ELI employs a trans-disciplinary team of early childhood specialists: Teachers, Nurses, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, Speech Therapists, Psychologists, Social Workers and Early Intervention Specialists. The expertise of the multidisciplinary staff allows for programs that offer dynamic, proactive responses to meet the unique and ever-changing needs of children and families in a variety of situations. Most of our services are delivered in the home or at the ELI center in Rohnert Park. All our services are available in English and Spanish. More than 50% of the ELI staff is bilingual (English/Spanish.) We also pride ourselves on our ability to build partnerships and create programs quickly to support the changing needs of our community.
Currently ELI is serving approximately 600 children and families per month: 350 children with weekly on-going services and another 150 children and families receive some kind of 1 time service each month.
Is to provide developmental assessments, intervention, education, advocacy, support and other services to young children and their families through proactive partnerships with these families, other professionals and community services. Provide these services in the most natural and desirable environment for each individual child and his/her family. Provide a variety of specialized group services: socialization, language, motor, etc. Provide emotional support to every child and his/her family. Provide resource that empower the family for future advocacy for their child. Provide services in the family’s native language whenever possible. Provide professional training and support for individuals who work with children and community training and education about issues that impact children.
That PARENTS are their children’s first, best teachers. Children have the best chance for Developmental success if interventions begin as early as possible. Developmental services promote family stability by providing parent support and education. Professional services are most effective when offered through a collaborative effort which involves parents and the community on a one-to-one basis there by allowing the parents and appropriate professionals to collaborate and participate in meeting the needs and interests of the child.