OEC Launches Sparkler Mobile App for Parents and Caregivers
The State of Connecticut, through the Office of Early Childhood, is offering Sparkler — a mobile app — to all parents with young children and to programs serving those families. Connecticut is the first state in the nation to offer families with 0 to 5 year-old children comprehensive mobile developmental screening, promotion, and linkage to supports.
Support for children and caregivers
Children’s brains grow rapidly in their earliest years, laying the foundation for the rest of life, with learning fueled by play and interactions between children and their parents and caregivers. COVID-19 interrupted life for most citizens, including the nearly 200,000 Connecticut children who are not yet old enough for kindergarten.
Today, parents have questions and need support. The state is committed to answering those questions, providing ideas to spark learning, and offering connections to a network of supports to help parents and children thrive.
“Families have been through a lot. This is the moment to help families connect about and get in tune with their child’s development. Sparkler helps parents check in on how their child is doing against key milestones and provides activities to spark their early learning. Supporting our youngest citizens is important for individual families and for our entire state.” —OEC Commissioner Beth Bye
“COVID has proved to be an incredibly challenging time for the parents and children of our state. The Sparkler app will provide much needed support to families by helping them learn through play with their children, all while promoting their child’s development and growth in an interactive way. I want to thank the Office of Early Childhood and partners for providing this wonderful resource to Connecticut residents.” —Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz
Download Sparkler today
Starting today, all Connecticut families with children from birth through kindergarten can access Sparkler for free to support their children’s early development. Connecticut families can download Sparkler from the Apple App Store and Google Play in English or Spanish on smartphones or tablets. They can also register with the code CT to access CT content and connect with local experts and services.
Sparkler helps parents:
- Know: Parents can access the mobile Ages & Stages Questionnaires® via Sparkler to understand their child’s development and celebrate their growth. Both the ASQ-3, which covers 5 domains — communication, gross motor, fine motor, problem solving, and personal-social — and the ASQ:SE-2, which covers social and emotional learning, are parent-friendly questionnaires available on Sparkler. These questionnaires help parents/caregivers of children 2 months through 5.5 years old understand what their children know and can do in the early years.
- Play and learn: Access thousands of fun, developmentally appropriate off-screen activities developed by early childhood educators to help parents learn through play with their baby, toddler, or young child, as well as science-based tips for parents.
- Connect: Get tips and answers from Connecticut early childhood providers and care coordinators at 211 Child Development (part of the United Way of Connecticut). Sparkler allows Connecticut families to tap into a network of custom advice and support that can help families spark their children’s early learning. If parents’ answers to the ASQ indicate they might need support, 211 or families’ early childhood providers will reach out and help parents access evaluation or other support.
For more information
- Visit Connecticut’s Sparkler webpage
- Read the full press release — with information about the event launching Sparkler in Waterbury, CT on October 21, 2021