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ZERO TO THREE Celebrates 40 Years

May 8, 2017

This year marks a milestone for ZERO TO THREE – 40 years of building connections to improve the lives of infants, toddlers and their families!

To celebrate our anniversary, we are sharing 40 days of fun facts and introductions to the people and programs that make ZERO TO THREE a leader in its field.


Day 40: TV portrayals of fatherhood have changed a lot in the last 50 years; actually being a dad may have changed even more. Today’s dads love being involved fathers, and want – and deserve – more credit. Two-thirds of moms and dads surveyed in our National Parent Survey discussion groups agreed that dads don’t get enough credit for their involvement in raising and caring for young children.

Day 39: ZERO TO THREE honored previous Board President and Founding Member T. Berry Brazelton, known as “America’s Pediatrician,” with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015.

Day 38: ZERO TO THREE and partner organizations operate a national center focused on improving outcomes for children and supporting professional development systems for child care providers. The National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching and Learning develops resources and offers training and technical assistance to Head Start / Early Head Start programs, early childhood specialists and child care lead agencies.

Day 37: Self-control is important as children learn to follow rules and understand limits. But, it is also a complex skill that emerges in the early months of life and is not fully developed until between 4 and 5 years of age. ZERO TO THREE offers resources on discipline and limit-setting.

Day 36: Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to ZERO TO THREE when you shop through AmazonSmile.

Day 35: Affordable, high-quality child care offers the promise of a solid future by helping nurture our youngest children, supporting their early learning and language development, and preparing them for school and life. That’s why ZERO TO THREE advocates for affordable, high-quality child care for all.

Day 34: The first ZERO TO THREE conference was held in 1985 as the National Training Institute. Since its launch, this world-class event has helped connect and educate more than 45,000 childhood professionals from across the U.S. and around the world. Registration is now open for the 2017 ZERO TO THREE Annual Conference! Learn more about our conference’s history.

Then and now: When ZERO TO THREE first founded, Jennifer and Michael were the most popular baby names. So far in 2017, Emma and Liam are topping the list of favorites.

Day 33: Jennifer and Michael were the most popular baby names when ZERO TO THREE was founded in 1977. So far in 2017, Emma and Liam are topping the list of favorites.

Day 32: ZERO TO THREE had 10 Founding Members: T. Berry Brazelton, Selma Fraiberg, Stanley I. Greenspan, Bernard Levy, Reginald S. Lourie, Peter B. Neubauer, Robert A. Nover, Sally Provence, Julius B. Richmond, Albert J. Solnit and Leon J. Yarrow.

Day 31: Provisions recommended by ZERO TO THREE to support mental health promotion, intervention and treatment programs for very young children were included in the 21st Century Cures bill, passed by Congress and signed into law in December 2016.

Day 30: The Leadership Development Institute is committed to supporting a broad diversity of emerging and experienced leaders who have the passion, will, knowledge, and know-how to ensure that all babies and toddlers have a strong start in life. The Institute is comprised of the ZERO TO THREE Fellowship Program and the Academy of ZERO TO THREE Fellows.

Day 29: ZERO TO THREE released the DC:0–5™ Diagnostic Classification of Mental Health and Developmental Disorders of Infancy and Early Childhood and official DC:0–5™ Training for advanced infant and early childhood mental health professionals in 2016.

Day 28: Early relationships shape how a child learns and sees the world. That’s why ZERO TO THREE advocates for paid family leave policies that are so important to the healthy development of our nation’s infants and toddlers.

Day 27: The development of the brain is influenced by many factors, including a child’s relationships, experiences and environment. That’s why ZERO TO THREE has focused on the crucial role parents and caregivers play in building a baby’s brain for 40 years.

Halfpoint / Shutterstock

Understanding some basic concepts about baby brains can better prepare parents for a child’s developmental milestones, nurture healthy growth and help them build strong, loving relationships with their child.

Day 26: ZERO TO THREE was founded by pioneers in the field of early childhood development. In 2015, we gathered these experts together to reminisce about our beginnings.

Day 25: Matthew E. Melmed is the ZERO TO THREE Executive Director. He has led the organization since 1995 and is an internationally-recognized leader and tireless advocate devoted to promoting the health and development of infants and toddlers.

Day 24: The 2017 ZERO TO THREE Annual Conference will be held in San Diego, California this December! This event, started in 1985 as the National Training Institute with a name change in 2016, has brought together more than 45,000 childhood professionals from across U.S. and around the world since its inception.

Day 23: The ZERO TO THREE National Parent Survey, Tuning In, revealed that a majority of parents believe children have mastered self-control early in life – much earlier than brain science indicates is possible. This “expectation gap” can cause a lot of frustration and stress for both parents and children, but ZERO TO THREE developed resources to help.

Day 22: Every six minutes an infant or toddler is removed from home due to alleged abuse and neglect. To improve the long-term outcomes for these children, ZERO TO THREE’s Safe Babies Court Teams is transforming child welfare practice. When families have the supports and services they need, they can encourage their child’s development and ensure a speedier exit from the child welfare system. See the impact SBCT has every day by reading Shayna’s story.

Day 21: ZERO TO THREE has more than 160 employees working on a wide range of issues impacting infants, toddlers, young children and their families. See our senior staff leadership here.

Day 20: As part of our Military and Veteran Families Support program, ZERO TO THREE has developed resources specifically designed for military and veteran families and the professionals who serve them. This includes children’s books, parent apps, training content and curricula!

Day 19: ZERO TO THREE offers a number of resources for Spanish-speaking parents and professionals, including our CERO A TRES website, Spanish-language sessions at our Annual Conference and Spanish-language Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Day 18: Throughout the past 40 years, ZERO TO THREE has been privileged to work with some outstanding partners, including recent collaborations with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Bezos Family Foundation, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Irving B. Harris Foundation and others.

Day 17: HealthySteps is a unique program that adds a child development specialist to the pediatric team to help families identify, understand and manage parenting challenges like feeding, behavior, sleep, development and adapting to life with a young child. Implemented in more than 100 pediatric and family practices across the country, HealthySteps serves over 30,000 children and their families each year.

Day 16: Compared to technology in 1977, today’s babies are born into a world of digital devices. Trying to navigate this new reality is no small task. ZERO TO THREE created resources to help you make the best decisions about screen time for your family.

Day 15: The ZERO TO THREE Policy Center was established in 2000 to promote good health, strong families and positive early learning experiences for all infants and toddlers. You can become a Big Voice for Little Kids™ by joining our Policy Network.

Day 14: ZERO TO THREE became a membership organization in 2016, offering a new way to connect with those who work to support the well-being of children prenatal to age 5 and their families. Membership perks include access to exclusive member-only resources, and networking opportunities and free access to monthly virtual learning events.

Day 13: ZERO TO THREE brought babies and parents from across the country to meet with legislators on Capitol Hill in a special Strolling Thunder event this year. Under sunny skies, they rained messages about how policymakers can support families.

Day 12: ZERO TO THREE’s Programmatic Assistance for Tribal Home Visiting project supports Tribal Home Visiting and Tribal Early Learning Initiative grantees. It increases their capacity to implement high-quality home visiting programs with tribal communities and develop integrated early childhood systems serving American Indian and Alaska Native families.

Day 11: The ZERO TO THREE Critical Competencies for Infant-Toddler Educators™ suite of professional development products and services helps educators build the essential knowledge and skills they need, in flexible and user-friendly formats.

Day 10: STEM skills – science, technology, engineering and math – are a critical part of everyday life. Through everyday play, exploration and interactions with parents and caregivers, children develop STEM skills beginning at birth.

Day 9: ZERO TO THREE is lucky to have 31 dedicated professionals serve on our Board of Directors. They bring together the perspectives of many fields, and their expertise is rooted in all domains of development—social, emotional, intellectual, language and physical.

Day 8: ZERO TO THREE recently launched a new video to highlight our organization’s work!

Day 7: Available in print and digital versions, the ZERO TO THREE Journal is a premier publication for professionals who work with or have an interest in very young children and their families, allowing them to stay current on best practices and access practical advice and professional development tools.

Day 6: ZERO TO THREE’s Western Office is dedicated to building partnerships and collaborations to support the healthy development of California’s infants and toddlers.

Day 5: Being a mom can be the toughest and most rewarding job you’ll ever have. This Mother’s Day, we’re celebrating all the moms out there!

Day 4: ZERO TO THREE, supported in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, designed the Think Babies campaign to encourage policymakers to promote enriching early experiences and give all babies a strong foundation for development from the start.

Day 3: In October 2015, ZERO TO THREE and the Bezos Family Foundation collaborated on a comprehensive research effort of millennial and Generation X parents of children aged birth to five. Tuning In: Parents of Young Children Tell Us What They Think, Know and Need, is the result of this effort.

Day 2: Reginald Lourie, M.D., was our organization’s first Board Chairman. Our current Board President is Ross A. Thompson, Ph.D.

Day 1: The National Center for Clinical Infant Programs came into existence in 1977, ultimately changing names to become ZERO TO THREE.



Learn more about ZERO TO THREE’s 40th Anniversary Celebration!