Family Trainings and Education

Man with infant on shoulders

This guide will introduce you to sources of training and education for parents and families. Each community is unique. If you are new to a particular community, you can reach out to other parents or community organizations to find additional training opportunities.

Local Organizations

Public libraries often host events, playgroups, or parent groups on a variety of topics. To find the nearest local public library, search on the Illinois Library Directory.

Parent Groups
Social media platforms and community bulletin boards in libraries, post offices, grocery stores, etc. often have information on local parent groups.

School districts
Local school districts may offer trainings for parents on a variety of topics.

Community colleges
Community colleges offer low cost classes or courses on a variety of topics. You can find the community college serving your local area on the Finding a College page.

Early Head Start & Head Start programs
A component of Early Head Start and Head Start is to support parents in their role as primary caregivers of their children. Find a Head Start Center near you here.

Home Visiting programs
Many community organizations offer parent education through a home visiting program. Find a home visiting program near you here.

Illinois Organizations

Illinois STAR NET provides a variety of opportunities for personal and professional growth for those who touch the lives of young children, ages birth through eight, with an emphasis on children with special needs. Each of the five STAR NET regions provides events for families.

The Early CHOICES inclusion initiative promotes increasing high quality inclusive early care and education for each and every child birth to age five.

Family Matters Parent Training & Information Center
Family Matters provides disability-related information, referrals, telephone consultation, parent trainings, a lending library, and more for families of students and adults with disabilities. Live and online conferences, workshops, and other events are available. Family Matters serves all Illinois counties except Cook, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will.

Family Resource Center on Disabilities
The Family Resource Center on Disabilities provides parents of children with disabilities with information, training, and assistance through workshops, phone trainings, and community outreach. FRCD serves Cook, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendal, Lake, McHenry, and Will Counties in Illinois.

Illinois Child Find Project
The Child Find Project offers information and resources related to the identification of young children who may benefit from early intervention and special education services. The Child Find YouTube Channel – includes videos about the transition process from early intervention to early childhood special education services.

Illinois Early Learning Project
The Illinois Early Learning Project website provides tip sheets, videos, podcasts, and more on early childhood related topics.

Illinois Extension
Family Life Educators throughout Illinois provide workshops and blog posts to support families throughout all life stages.

Illinois Cares for Kids
A new source of information for Illinois parents, grandparents, and caregivers on early childhood in Illinois.

Illinois Early Intervention Clearinghouse
The Illinois Early Intervention Clearinghouse provides a lending library, tip sheets, and additional resources for families and providers in Illinois.

National Organizations

CDC’s Essentials for Parenting Toddlers and Preschoolers
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) offers a wide variety of health and development resources for families. This collection of videos focuses on positive parenting skills featuring real-life parenting challenges and “how-to” advice from experts. Essentials for Parenting Toddlers and Preschoolers gives you ways to interact positively with your child. Learn how to handle common parenting challenges with positive parenting skills.

WNET’s Parenting Minutes
New York’s public broadcasting network, WNET, creates the Parenting Minutes videos and information series. This collection of short videos focuses on key topics related to early childhood learning and raising children. Each video page contains shareable tips and facts, as well as links to more free resources and information.

Greater Good Magazine – Parenting Videos
This online journal and video series published by the Greater Good Science Center (GGSC) at the University of California, Berkeley explores the roots of happy and compassionate individuals, strong social bonds, and altruistic behavior. The parenting initiative video series shares research-based insights to guide your kids toward making choices that serve the greater good.

Smarter Parenting
Smarter Parenting is an online resource that can help you regain control and give you confidence in your parenting by teaching you the evidence-based behavior skills of the Teaching-Family Model. A variety of brief videos and articles provide information on parenting, parenting children with special needs, and more.

Zero to Three
Zero to Three provides information and tools on a variety of topics for parents of infants and toddlers, including articles, infographics, videos, and podcasts.

Joint Initiatives
Joint Initiatives provides resources to Colorado families. Their video series on early learning describes the path of children’s learning and development from birth to eight years and how adults can support young children’s development.