For Parents

A free program for parents of
children ages birth to five years.

What is Early Birds?

Early Birds is a Smart Start Central Oklahoma program designed just for parents.

This unique family-based, school readiness program arms you with information, activities and materials to use with your young child, supporting you as you give your child the smart start he needs and deserves.

Early Birds will support you as you become your child's first and most influential teacher!

Why a school readiness program?

The first five years are critical in preparing a child for school success, and we know that school readiness begins long before a child enters a classroom. Sadly, many Oklahoma County children enter school without the necessary skills needed to be successful. There is good news, though! Through purposeful play and making the most of everyday moments, a parent can promote school readiness skills in his or her child from the time the child is born!

What to expect from an Early Birds Class:
  • 90 minutes of instruction led by a trained professional covering topics like child development, everyday learning opportunities, activities that promote school readiness, purposeful parenting techniques, and health and safety.
  • Discussion with other parents about the successes and challenges of being their child's first teacher
  • Free toys and materials that foster school readiness at home
  • Free notebook with more helpful resources, tips, and support to help your child learn and grow
  • Free on-site child care so you can fully participate in the classes

Best of all, when you complete each Early Birds class, you will know how to play so your child will learn and develop skills that will give him future success in school and life!

What parents are saying about Early Birds...

"I loved that the classes taught us new ways to educate our children and to get them ready for school. Who knew that a simple water bottle with a sprayer was good exercise for the toddler's hand muscles to help them with their writing? I learned that from this program! So now my son and I like to water the trees and the plants in my yard."

— Mother of 3-year-old, Oklahoma City

"My son loves doing the educational activities like stacking the blocks or matching them by colors or by letting them roll fast and slow."

— Father of 2-year-old, Oklahoma City

"This program has helped me and my husband because it has educated us on activities to do with our son. For example, singing nursery rhymes with musical eggs has helped my son to memorize the songs himself, which is increasing his vocabulary and his speech development. Plus, he likes doing dance movements now too when we sing the songs."

— Mother of 3-year-old, Midwest City

"I love that the program is spaced out over the year so that we don't get too much information at once and end up forgetting most of it. I always look forward to the next class as a family affair because my husband and I get time to learn while my son gets a playdate with the other kids in childcare. Then we get to leave together and start playing some of the activities as soon as we get home. This is truly a wonderful program and I am excited to be a part of it!"

— Mother of 3-year-old, Oklahoma City

Frequently Asked Questions

Early Birds participants include parents and caregivers of young children, ages birth to five. This means fathers are welcome too! Even if you are not a child's parent but spend time caring for a child, please join us! Grandparents, relatives, foster care families, child care providers, and teachers have all participated in Early Birds.

As a parent or caregiver of young child, you are his/her first and most important teacher! Early Birds will give you practical information on how to best prepare your child for school success! Plus, with each class, you'll receive quality toys for free!

With the generous support from our donors, Early Birds is provided free of charge to program participants.

There are no special requirements to attend an Early Birds class. Participants do not need a referral from another agency or organization.

Classes are held in 4 different school districts at various locations. Visit this section of our website to find a class near you.

The classes are offered three times each year during the fall, winter, and spring. You will need to contact your school district or visit their district website to learn about class dates and times. Visit this section of our website to contact your school district.

Visit this section of our website, and contact an Early Birds coordinator in your school district. The district coordinators will register you for a class. Some districts have an online registration form that participants can complete. Again, check with the specific district.

Early Birds is a 16 class program beginning with a prenatal class. Once your baby is born, you will attend classes 3 times per year, during the fall, winter, and spring — for 5 consecutive years. The classes are each 90 minutes and offered in the evenings and on Saturdays.

Of course! We offer free, on-site child care by professional child care providers so that participants can attend Early Birds.

It is best to participate in the class for the full 90 minutes, but if you will be late or leaving early participants need to let the Early Birds Coordinator know ahead of time. Depending on the situation, the coordinator will decide if it's best for a participant to attend another time instead of missing part of a class. However, if a participant arrives too late to a class or must leave too early, then he/she will not receive the educational materials, including the free toys.

We do offer Early Birds in Spanish. We have well-trained bilingual instructors for each district.

You will receive a parent handbook when you attend your first class and will need to bring it with you for subsequent classes you attend. All activities and toys will be provided for you. Many participants like to take notes and take contact information of other parents in the class. You may want to have a pen or pencil on hand to do this.

Yes. If you have more than one child you may attend a class for each child under 5 years old. We encourage you to attend class together for each child, but if that is not possible, you may attend separate classes at the same time.

Since relatives often spend time with young children, it is certainly acceptable for them to attend an Early Birds class with you, or if need be, attend a different class if you have more than one child.

Yes. To receive the information and educational materials for a child, you must attend the 90 minute class. You are welcome to attend one day for each child.

Participants are limited to those living in the 4 school districts. However, we suggest calling one of the districts — perhaps the closest one to you — and asking if you can attend. In the past, we have had some participants outside of the 4 districts attend Early Birds. We encourage you to let your district know you want Early Birds classes and suggest they check out the website for more information.

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