Connecticut Office of Early Childhood

State Offering Free App to CT Families to Help With Child Development

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The state of Connecticut is providing a tool for families with young children to help track key milestones of child development. It will also give them support services and resources for play that will help with early learning.

The state of Connecticut is providing a tool for families with young children to help track key milestones of child development. It will also give them support services and resources for play that will help with early learning.

The State of Connecticut is offering Sparkler, a mobile app for parents and caregivers, to all parents with young children.

The goal is to provide ideas to spark learning and offer connections to a network of support to help parents and children thrive, according to Office of Early Childhood Commissioner Beth Bye, Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz, and Connecticut United Way President and CEO Lisa Tepper Bates.

State officials said Connecticut is the first state in the nation to do this.

The funding is coming from the federal Preschool Development Grant and the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund.

In announcing the initiative, Bye, Bysiewicz and Tepper Bates said COVID-19 interrupted life for most citizens, including the nearly 200,000 Connecticut children who are not yet old enough for kindergarten and parents have questions and need support.

Starting today, all Connecticut families with children from birth through kindergarten can access Sparkler for free. 

State officials said that, starting this year, all Connecticut school districts are offering Sparkler to families as part of Child Find and some districts are also incorporating Sparkler into programs and services provided to young families.

What to Know About Sparkler:

  • Know: Questionnaires covering communication, gross motor, fine motor, problem-solving, personal-social, and social and emotional learning to help parents and caregivers of children, 2 months through 5-and-a-half years old understand what their children know and can do in the early years.
  • Play and Learn: Access to fun, developmentally appropriate off-screen activities to help parents learn through play with their baby, toddler, or young child, as well as science-based tips for parents.
  • Connect: Tips and answers from Connecticut early childhood providers and care coordinators at 211 Child Development.

How to Sign Up for Sparkler

  1. Download the app from the App Store or Google Play Store.
  2. On the first step, enter the code CT to get connected with CT content and supports.
  3. Create your account and a profile for your 0-5.5-year-old child or children.
  4. You’ll see the first ASQ-3 and ASQ:SE as soon as you sign in. If you complete an ASQ, you’ll get results from expert care coordinators at 211 Child Development (or from your local providers if you link with them, too).

CT families can learn more about Sparkler at playsparkler.org/CT.

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All Connecticut local providers serving young families, including child care centers, family child care providers, home visitors, family resource centers, and others, can also now access Sparkler’s dashboard to engage directly with their families.

Connecticut educators, pediatricians, school readiness officials, or other providers who want to connect with their families through Sparkler can reach out to Sparkler at support@playsparkler.org to get started.