SXU’s free Birth-to-3 Program offers support to families with at-risk or special-needs children

Do you have a child under the age of three who is at risk of academic failure or has been identified with special needs? Saint Xavier University’s Birth-to-3 Program could be just what your family needs.

The nine-year-old program, facilitated by certified parent educators, aims to connect families with support services and provide developmentally appropriate activities for parents and their young children during these early critical years. It includes: weekly one-hour classes for parents and children to participate in free play, story time and music; monthly field trips to acquaint families with activities in the community; home visits to discuss developmental concerns and parenting questions; and evening parents classes about positive parenting approaches, nutrition, and educational rights.

The year-round program is available at no cost to families in Mt. Greenwood, Morgan Park, Beverly, Washington Heights, Evergreen Park, Oak Lawn, Alsip, and other surrounding suburban communities. Sessions meet at Mount Greenwood Community Church, 3509 W. 111th St.

Recent collaborations with Evergreen Park Public Library, Oak Lawn Park District, and an exciting new venture with Little Company of Mary Hospital (LCMH) have broadened the support network available to families. LCMH’s Family Birth Center has begun a Newborn Encounter visitation program where a trained volunteer meets with new moms and their babies to provide information about infant development, offer follow-up developmental newsletters with key anticipatory guidance information, and present each mom with a new board book to share with their baby. Another successful Birth-to-3 partnership with SXU’s Ludden Speech and Language clinic offers children with language delays and their parents a 12-week Language Enhancement group facilitated by a clinical professor and two graduate speech-language pathology students.

The program is a collaborative effort between SXU and the Barbara Vick Early Childhood and Family Center, and is funded by an Illinois State Board of Education grant. For more information, please contact Kathy Peters at (773) 941-5708 or