May 18, 2016
May 18

New National Program Offers Unique Tools for Early Educators to Promote Young Children’s Brain and Language Development

Nashville, TN
Press Release

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Too Small to Fail, the National Head Start Association, and the National Association for Family Child Care launch “STRIVE for 5: Talk, Read, Sing Early Learning Boot Camp” to provide educators with engaging, user-friendly resources to create language-rich early learning environments

Global learning company Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) and Too Small to Fail, in partnership with the National Head Start Association (NHSA) and the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC), announces STRIVE for 5, a hands-on bilingual (English/Spanish) program designed to provide early educators instant tools and ideas to promote children’s language development and improve the quality of early learning environments. The goal of STRIVE for 5 is to equip early educators with concrete resources to support the growth and development of young children from infancy to age five—along with hands-on materials and strategies to engage parents and families.

The program is divided into five user-friendly segments, with key information and tools to help educators create a vocabulary-rich early learning environment and enrich daily moments with activities like talking, reading, and singing. Created with educators in mind, STRIVE for 5 offers a variety of resources, including:

  • An Educator Guide that takes educators through each step of the program and provides opportunities to record observations;
  • A series of videos for each week of the program which features experts in the early childhood field;
  • A deck of colorful and engaging “Little Things Cards” with early literacy activities that educators can integrate into children’s daily routines and activities; and
  • Mini wall posters with age-appropriate activity suggestions on how educators can incorporate talking, reading and singing into everyday moments such a diaper time, nap time, play time and snack time.

A robust program website ( will provide educators with access to all the program materials, as well as engaging, interactive resources, including journaling pages and instant tips to engage young learners.

A particularly unique and engaging feature of STRIVE for 5 is the forum hosted on the program website, which provides a place where early learning educators can discuss the program with their peers from across the country, ask questions, and give each other ideas about best practices.

“We know that children are born learning and that each day provides countless moments to create language-rich environments and nurture curiosity across all of the spaces where children learn, play and live,” said Linda K. Zecher, President and CEO, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. “We are immensely proud of Strive for 5, and are confident that the tools, strategies and tips provided will be a valuable resource for early child educators and the families within the learning communities they serve.”

“We are particularly enthusiastic about the flexibility STRIVE for 5 offers early learning practitioners,” said National Head Start Association executive director Yasmina Vinci. “STRIVE for 5 offers easy-to-use and adaptable program elements that can be incorporated into centers where and when it is convenient, augmenting the quality care and education offered to the young children and families Head Start serves.”

Centered on brain science research, STRIVE for 5 reflects decades of data that demonstrates that the early months and years of a child’s life offer a critical opportunity to shape his or her future.

“We know millions of children spend a significant amount of time outside the home in formal and informal education and care settings. There is a clear opportunity and need to provide early educators with innovative tools to create a nurturing and stimulating environment to promote early language development,” said Patti Miller, Director of Too Small to Fail.

“STRIVE for 5 aims to create a collaborative, supportive environment in which early learning professionals in family child care can absorb and share their wealth of knowledge about creating a quality and impactful early learning experience,” said National Association for Family Child Care Executive Director Eva Daniels.