What is the Smart Start Parenting Kit?
The Smart Start Parenting Kit is a comprehensive tool designed for parents of newborns in order to give them immediate access to important information to assist in their difficult and joyous job of being new parents. The Kit is distributed primarily through birthing hospitals throughout select counties in Alabama (based on funding availability).

The Smart Start Parenting Kit is designed to:
• answer frequently asked questions of new parents
• provide information on children’s health, safety and childcare products
• provide easy access to toll-free telephone numbers and websites of state agencies and public programs
• provide parents information about the importance of quality childcare
• provide information for parents that will continue to be useful through all stages of development

The Smart Start Parenting Kit includes:
 The Handbook for Alabama Parents - a comprehensive resource and referral guide
• Baby’s First Year Calendar
• A congratulatory card to parents with Kit partners recognized
• A message from the State Superintendent of Education emphasizing the importance of early 
  literacy
• A child’s first book to highlight the importance of reading and talking to children from birth
• A video, Parenting Right From the Start

 
 

Why the Smart Start Parenting Kit?
The Smart Start Parenting Kit is one of the most important recommendations from the 2001 Governor’s Early Learning Commission Report. According to the report, there is a lack of understanding that learning begins long before children enter school. Parents are their children’s first and most important teachers, and Alabama must emphasize the critical importance of early learning and childcare experiences and support parents in these early years. Therefore, Alabama seeks to develop a public awareness, education and follow-up program to support parents in their roles by providing information concerning child growth and development and related resources available in their communities. Effective distribution and follow-up with parents will be the most important component of the project.

The effectiveness and impact of the Kit were evaluated in 2003 and some of the findings are listed below.
     • 86% of families surveyed said they had increased knowledge of community resources as a result of 
       receiving the Kit
     • 83% of families surveyed said they had decreased stress as a result of receiving the Kit
     • 80% of families surveyed said they had increased confidence in parenting as a result of receiving the Kit
     • 83% of families surveyed said they had increased positive feelings about parenting as a result of receiving 
       the Kit


For more information about the Smart Start Parenting Kit, please contact Tish MacInnis by calling toll-free 1-866-711-4025 or by emailing.