district header logo

Bits and Bites

January 2019 

The Birth to 3 Program/Project HOPE is the District 33 Program for children up to age 3.  Parents are a child’s first, best, and most important teacher.  The Birth to 3 Program supports parents in that role through home visits and parent groups throughout the community.  Family liaisons support child development, build parenting skills, connect families to resources, and support the parent-child relationship.


All parents in District 33 are encouraged to call for a free screening for their children (ages 3 months to 3 years).  District staff will screen a child’s hearing and vision and partner with you to complete a developmental screening.  These screenings are open to anyone - even if you are not interested in enrolling in the program.   


The Birth to Three Program works to connect families to each other and support learning about our community through a variety of community outings.


=        In September, families joined staff at Reed Keppler Park for a park playdate.  

=        In October, families took the bus to the Cosley Zoo.  What a great day to spend outside and getting close to animals, nature, and each other.

=        November was play group month.  Staff and parents came together at various area churches and apartment complexes for a play group.  These play groups focus on an interesting topic such as healthy snacks or outdoor play and also incorporate book time and playtime.

=        In December, families participated in library tours and received support with getting library cards. They also enjoyed parent-child story and play times.

=        Also in December, families spent an active morning at the West Chicago Park District. Nearly 100 parents and children enjoyed balls, tunnels, bowling, dancing, and more.  

=        Our Fathers' Group meets monthly.  This evening group for dads and kids includes dinner, playtime, and time for fathers to get to know each other.

=        A group for parents who have children with special needs of any age also meets monthly.  These groups have been a time for parents to share about their unique experiences and learn about school IEP meetings and what to expect as their children grow.

=        Birth to 3 parents also attend the Thirty Million Words workshops in partnership with preschool as well as other Community School evening events.


Many more community events are planned in the upcoming months including a trip to the DuPage Children’s Museum, our annual Family Night and end of school year family picnic.  Please call for more information about the Birth to 3 Program.  Enrolled families must meet eligibility requirements.


April 2018 

In addition to regular home visits, the Birth to Three Program staff work to plan a variety of events throughout the community.  These events can be opportunities for education, social connections among parents and fun for parent and child.  Some highlights include:

Thirty Million Words Workshops-These parent friendly workshops are offered during the morning, afternoon and evenings in partnership with preschool.  Parents learn the power of words and how talking more, taking turns in conversation and tuning in builds a child’s brain for later school success.

Library Groups-Program staff meet with parents at the West Chicago library for a tour, to get library cards and for a fun library group.

Field trips-The Program went to the Cosley Zoo by bus in the fall.  We are gearing up for 3 trips to the DuPage Children’s Museum this month.  Staff work with families to obtain museum memberships and support them to try a new place for fun and learning.

Father’s Group-This group meets monthly in the evenings.  Dads and kids meet together for dinner and a play group.  There is time for Dads to play with their kids, read books and for Dads to talk to each other as well about the challenges of being a Dad.

Special Needs Group-This group meets bi-monthly and is for parents in the program who have a child with special needs of any age.  Families meet for playtime, to discuss issues unique to parenting a child with special needs and to learn about specific resources.

Family Events-The Program hosts special family events per year.  In March, families had a fun evening at the West Chicago Park District for a Family Night.  Families joined together for dinner, activity stations to do with their children and time to meet other families.  The Staff also host a Family Picnic each year at the end of the year.

Ongoing groups-Family Liaisons host groups throughout the community at several apartment complexes and churches.  Parents and children come together for play time and learning about specific topics such as healthy snacks and sugar, the benefits of outdoor play and making homemade toys.   

February 2018

Project HOPE – D33’s Birth to Three Program 

Birth to Three Program is the District Home-Visiting Program.  We have the capacity to serve 170 children through home visits and groups throughout the community One of the programs goals is to cast a wide net to identify most in need children and families and to universally screen all families with young children.
We are celebrating our reach into the community! 
Since August, we've received 157 new referrals 95 of these families were screened for eligibility of services. (Some families were not interested in the program or we were unable to contact to complete the referral).  We screen all children for developmental delays-even if parents are not interested in the program
High Quality Staff
13 of our staff completed a 4 day training on Baby TALK (Teaching Activities for Learning and Knowledge)  This new model and approach with families prepared staff to come-alongside families and focus more on partnering with parents to meet child and family goals.  We view parents as the expert on their child. 
Parent and Community Engagement

Staff is putting into practice what they learned through Baby TALK.  The Birth to Three plans to supports parents by: 

  • Positively impact child development    
  • Nurturing healthy parent-child relationships      
  • Supporting parents to identify and cope with life stressors
The Program is very focused on promoting parent child interactions.  Research shows that stronger the parent-child relationships leads to better outcomes for school readiness and relationships.  Quality and type of parent-child interactions predicts child development in multiple domains at start of kindergarten:  Social emotional, Cognitive, Language.  

October 2017

Program Overview

The Birth to 3 Program serves families throughout the district who are expecting a baby or have children under the age of 3. The Program works with families through home visits and parent groups throughout the community. Home Visits focus on various parenting topics, parent-child interactions and building connections to other resources in the community. Katey Baldassano, Supervisor, coordinates the program as well as serving to link the program to all things Early Childhood in the area. Currently, the program includes 14 other staff members:

10-Home Visitors

· Provide twice monthly home visits that include learning about topics relevant to each family and fun activities for parents and children
· Screen children and monitor development
· Host parent-child groups throughout the community (10 groups per month)

2-Case Managers

· Determine initial eligibility for the families
· Provide resource connections for families and hands-on support with accessing resources
· Support staff in meeting the needs of families
· Coordinate transportation needs of families
· Facilitate Mothers and Babies groups (our 6 week class for expectant mothers)
· Assist families with the transition to preschool

1-Child Care Worker

· Assist in all community based groups
· Support staff in keeping all materials in working and clean order
· First point of contact for all staff and families to make a referral or learn more about the program

What’s happening in Birth to 3?

· In September, families participated in library tours and received support with getting library cards
· In October, families came to the West Chicago Art Center to learn about the benefits of messy play and they created a beautiful mural hanging at the center.
· In October, families also took the bus to the Cosley Zoo. What a great day to spend outside and getting close to animals, nature and each other.
 · Home Visitors and Case Managers are planning to attend a 2-Day Conference in Lisle on “Protecting Children: Finding Strength, Hope and Resilience.
· Staff plan to join with early childhood professionals from around the state at the Sharing a Vision Conference for 2 days of learning to better support children and families and improve our professional practice.
© 2015 West Chicago School District 33 | 312 East Forest Avenue, West Chicago, IL 60185 | Phone: 630.293.6000