Our vision is that children will be ready for school and enjoy reading by the time they begin kindergarten.

Our goal for the One Step Ahead program, also known as Little-by-Little, is to improve the health, development, literacy skills, and safety of our young WIC participants at the Huntington Park and the Manchester WIC centers.

We provide literacy interventions to help increase school readiness. Our activities are geared toward improving verbal abilities and language comprehension in English- and Spanish-speaking children.

Our Approach We enroll pregnant women during their third trimester in the Little-by-Little program. We give them their first book so they can begin reading to their unborn baby. Parents continue receiving books for their child until he or she reaches the age of five.

Following their child’s enrollment, WIC parents visit the Huntington Park or Manchester WIC center approximately every three months. We provide parents colorful educational pamphlets and books. The books vary according to the child’s age.

The pamphlets we distribute discuss stages of development, helping the parents better understand their child’s growth and giving them a better sense of what to expect. The pamphlets describe games and other interactive activities parents can enjoy with their infants and children.They provide information about potty training, discipline and safety, and explain the importance of reading to their children daily.

During each participant’s birthday month, he or she receives safety items.

Continued Involvement We have found an additional advantage to Little by Little. Families, eager to receive these program benefits, are more likely to stay involved with WIC beyond the child’s first year of life, and continue to take advantage of the array of opportunities afforded by WIC participation.

Background From 2003 to 2008, with funding from First 5 LA, several Public Health Foundation Enterprise (PHFE) WIC centers located in Los Angeles County expanded their services to include the Little-by-Little program. The concept of good nutrition was extended to include good “nutrition” for the brain.

In its initial five years, the One Step Ahead Initiative helped more than 118,000 children in low-income communities receive educational materials.

After reviewing the positive impact of this program, First 5 LA and PHFE decided to expand the program to involve all the WIC programs in Los Angeles County, starting with our agency as one of three pilot locations. In 2014 the program was expanded further to include a total of 10 WIC centers throughout Los Angeles County. More than 60,000 WIC participants benefited from the program during its first year.