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parent with infant on lap looking at a laptop

LENA Start Parenting Classes

Basics DeKalb County has partnered with NIU to bring LENA Start programming to our community. LENA Start is an evidence-based program designed to engage families and help them learn how to increase conversation with their children during the first few years of life. Interactive talk — specifically back-and-forth conversation — has been proven to be a key factor in healthy early brain development. Yet most families don’t know how much they’re talking to or with their children.

During LENA Start, families use LENA’s patented “talk pedometer” technology to measure their child’s language environment. Over the course of 10 weekly sessions that can be delivered virtually or in person, families explore this data in the form of personalized, actionable feedback reports, discussing research-based strategies with their peers to increase the quality and quantity of talk at home. Participants will receive free children’s book each session and gift card stipends. Registration is required.

parents playing with young children

Parent Playgroups

Do you live in DeKalb 428 School District and have a child between the ages of 0 and 3?

If so, we would love to have you join us for one of our Basics Parent Playgroups. We recognize parents as their child’s first and most important teacher. 80% of brain growth happens during the first 3 years of life! The playgroups provide an opportunity to learn brain-boosting tips and connect with other parents of young children. Each month, you will receive an early learning toolkit with materials to help your child learn and grow. Each week, you get to choose a new book to add to your child’s home library. Registration is required. There are two playgroups to choose from:

Tuesdays at 5:00 at the DeKalb County Community Outreach Building, 2500 N Annie Glidden Rd

Fridays at 10:00 at Christ Community Outreach Center, 316 N 6th Street

***Beginning September 30th, Friday Playgroup will change locations to the University Village Community Room, 722 N. Annie Glidden Road at 10:00

For more information, contact the DeKalb County Regional Office of Education at: 815-217-0471.

Register Here
toddler gardening

Toddler Garden

Our Toddler Gardens are a place where families can be outside and do The Basics in nature! These free weekly programs are for any parent/caregiver with young children- even infants! The topics of the programs range from seeds to bumblebees and anything in between. The programs are about 30-45 mins in length. No registration required and there are no residency restrictions to attend. We have 2 locations: Sandwich and DeKalb with a third coming soon in Genoa! See photo for schedule of programs. Toddler Gardens are open to the public and can be visited anytime outside of scheduled programming.
Toddler Garden News