For Parents

A free parenting program designed
specifically to help expectant parents
and those caring for children from
birth to five years. Early Birds gives
you access to the tools you need to build
a solid learning environment and
be your child's first and best teacher. 

Our Fall Early Birds sessions are here! Click the Calendar of Activities button to find a class near you! 

INHERENT RISK: Risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public space where people are present. COVID-19 is an extremely dangerous disease that can lead to serious illness and death. By visiting an in-person Early Birds class you voluntarily assume all risk related exposure to COVID-19.

What is Early Birds?

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

This free family-based school readiness program arms you with information, activities, and educational toys and books to use with your young child to stimulate their development and learning.

Early Birds will support you in your role as 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—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, you can promote school readiness skills in your child from the moment your child is born.

What to expect from an Early Birds class:
 
  • 60-90 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 your 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.

Best of all, when you complete each Early Birds class, you will know how to play so your child will learn and develop the skills needed for 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 a 3-year-old, Oklahoma City

"Early Birds is an awesome program, I really wish that it went up to older ages and I would like for everyone to know about it. I love the everyday learning cards. It's helped me to realize that the car is a great place to play games and have conversations with my child."

— Mother of a 4-year-old, Oklahoma City

"My wife and I both really enjoyed Early Birds, it has given my wife more confidence in her parenting. We are more confident and we practice more things while playing with our child. Early Birds is a wonderful service and we got a lot out of the class."

— Father of a 1-year-old, Putnam City

"My child and I use the toys and activities we received at Early Birds every day. I like that they open the door to more play and interaction. Every time I attend Early Birds, I get new ideas and ways to interact with my child. It also helps with networking with other parents."

— Mother of a 5-year-old, Oklahoma City

Frequently Asked Questions

Early Birds is for 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 a young child, you are their 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 of 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 virtually and at schools and other community agencies. Check out the Calendar of Activities to find a class near you.

Early Birds classes are offered three times each year during the fall, winter, and spring. Check out the Calendar of Activities to find the next class time.

Click here to register for an Early Birds class online. For assistance or more information, please email cflores@smartstartokc.org. 

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 60-90 minutes and most are offered in the evenings or on Saturdays.

It is best to participate in the class for the full 60-90 minutes. If you will be late or leaving early, please notify the program coordinator listed in your registration confirmation email. Depending on the situation, the coordinator may assist you with finding another time instead of missing part of a class. If you arrive too late to a class or must leave too early then you will not receive the educational materials, including the free toys.

Yes, Early Birds is available in Spanish. Click here to register for an Early Birds class online. 

You will receive a parent handbook when you attend your first class (or after, if attending virtually) 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 five 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, they are welcome 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 your child, you must attend the 60-90 minute class. You are welcome to attend classes on different days for each child under five.

Early Birds is currently available with the following partners: Oklahoma City Public Schools, Edmond Public Schools, Putnam City Schools, Stillwater Public Schools, Enid Public Schools, Santa Fe South Schools, Head Start, Healthy Start, Oklahoma DHS, ReMerge Oklahoma, Resilient Payne County, and Tulsa Educare/ Early Learning Works.

For families in non participating areas, we provide a fully virtual option, Oklahoma Virtual Early Birds. We are still in the planning stages of this sign-up, check back HERE for updates! 

Click HERE to find the class nearest to you, and to stay up to date with Early Birds sign-ups!

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