In partnership with Gov. Rick Perry’s Texas Early Learning Council, researchers at the Children’s Learning Institute at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), as well as two dozen stakeholders throughout Texas, recently created infant, toddler and 3-year-old early learning guidelines. These guidelines are the basis of a statewide public awareness campaign called “Little Texans. Big Futures.”

As parents prepare their children for a new school year, studies have shown the most important preparation occurs before children start kindergarten. Research indicates early childhood is the most critical period in a child’s development, with 80 percent of brain development occurring within the first 5 years of life. Researchers created the early learning guidelines to help Texans understand what very young children should know and be able to do at different points in their development.

The guidelines provide tools for parents and other caregivers to support early growth in the following categories: physical health and motor development, social and emotional development, language and communication development and cognitive development.

“Warm, responsive parents and caregivers that introduce language and play early into their children’s lives are preparing their children for success in school and in life,” said Dr. Susan Landry, founder and director of the Children’s Learning Institute. “This is a message that must be more prevalent in our society, which is why I am so excited to be a part of the ‘Little Texans. Big Futures.’ campaign.”

Besides providing access to the full version of the guidelines, the campaign’s website features shorter versions and posters divided into different age ranges. The website also includes resources on how to choose the best care for young children and information on screening for developmental delays.

The campaign plans to run television commercials and radio ads over the next two months in the Houston, Dallas and Lower Rio Grande Valley markets. For more information and to download the early learning guidelines, watch the commercials and share resources and other materials with expecting and new parents, visit

-Andy Heger, Office of Public Affairs, Media Relations