Joan Hartley

State Senator

Joan Hartley

Chief Deputy President Pro Tempore

An Independent Voice

October 25, 2021

Sen. Hartley Joins Unveiling of New App to Promote Early Childhood Development

State Senator Joan Hartley (D-Waterbury, Middlebury and Naugatuck) joined Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz, Office of Early Childhood Commissioner Beth Bye, Commissioner of the Department of Public Health Manisha Juthani, President & CEO of United Way of Connecticut Lisa Tepper Bates, Mayor Neil M. O’Leary of Waterbury, and State Representative Geraldo Reyes to announce the launch of the Sparkler app. The mobile developmental screening and family engagement tool is the first in the nation to offer universal access to services that promote healthy early childhood development in children from birth to 6 years old.

“The Sparkler app is the latest innovation made in Connecticut to help parents and support the life-long success of their children,” said Sen. Hartley. “This easily accessible app puts right into the hands of parents a tool to follow the development of their kids in their first years, while sharing fun activities to promote the child’s growth. This new resource will be a daily help to families as they balance the many different hats that come with raising a child. I want to thank the governor and lieutenant governor, and all the partners involved in bringing this app to life. We are bettering the lives of our future community leaders.”

Sparkler provides over 1,200 activities for children up to 5 years old in both English and Spanish. The wide range of activities includes art projects, games, and reading.

Each of these activities helps children practice a skill measured by the Ages and Stages Questionnaire, which is a research and time-tested developmental screening tool. The ASQ helps parents follow their child’s growth of their communication, fine motor, gross motor, personal-social, and problem-solving skills.

In addition, Sparkler connects parents with available resources if they are concerned about their child’s development or want to seek professional device. Resources available through Sparkler include being connected to Connecticut’s 211 Child Development Infoline and Sparkler’s early childhood coaches who can share tips with the family through the app.

Families are encouraged to use screening tools like Sparkler and the ASQ in measuring a child’s development in their first years because it helps to identify early any possible developmental concerns and connect children with support to treat development delays. Children who receive support in addressing developmental delays are more likely to graduate from high school and able to retain a job once in their adult years.

The Sparkler app is available on both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.