The Beginnings Mothers
It matters what a mother knows and what a mother does.
Beginnings Guides are designed to complement counseling during office and home visits for prenatal and parent education and family support.  The Guides are both teaching & learning materials for promoting health literacy, reflective function, and other essential life skills for parents.
In English & Spanish  Easy to read.  Rigorously tested in Early Head Start, Healthy Start, Healthy Families, Strengthening Families, First Five, Families First, Parents as Teachers,teens ...
Complements Ages & Stages. Companion to the Life Skills Progression instrument.
Beginnings Pregnancy Guide translates the health promotion content of prenatal care into easy-to-read practical guidance for a healthy pregnancy. Now in its 8th edition. 6 booklets (96 pages) referenced by gestational age. 
Over 310,000 families served
Beginnings Parent's Guide translates the science of early child development into easy-to-understand practical guidance for parents of 0 to 3 year-olds. 8 booklets (196 pages) referenced by child age.  Now in its 4th Edition
Beginnings Guides-Tour In this quick tour of the two Beginnings Guides series, you will learn about the easy-to- read, easy-to-use curricula for teaching parents and supporting their independent learning during pregnancy and early parenting.

Please follow these links for information on program evaluation, field testing, key messages readability and readability ratings.

Beginnings Guides work! See an independent review of the evidence on the Agency for Health care Research & Quality's Innovations Exchange
Beginnings Guides: A National Commission for Quality Assurance Quality Tool
For detailed information on training, research & development, the evidence base & program evaluation with the Life Skills Progression visit our training page.
Sandra Smith, MPH, PhD
Zero to Three Graduate Fellow
National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families
Certified Health Education Specialist
Clinical Faculty, School of Public Health & Community Medicine
University of Washington Seattle, Washington
Dr.Smith is a national expert and frequent speaker, author and trainer on promoting and measuring health literacy as a personal and community asset.  She earned a Masters in Public Health at University of Washington and is a certified health education specialist.  She earned a PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies (social policy and leadership) at Union Institute and University. Her current research, funded by National Library of Medicine through University of Washington, addresses home visitation as an avenue to promote health literacy in parents, and links between parental health literacy, depression and child development. She also is working with Parents as Teachers and the Missouri Foundation for Health on a 2-year project to demonstrate practices to develop parents’ reflective skills as the foundation for both responsive parenting and health literacy.
Her work has been recognized recently by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the National Commission for Quality Assurance as a Quality Innovation, and by the Health Literacy Annual Research Conference, Association of Maternal Child Health Programs, American College of Physicians, and National Library of Medicine Round Table on Health Literacy.  Dr. Smith is author of chapters on health literacy in three behavioral and social sciences text books.  She is author of the Beginnings Guides to pregnancy and early parenting which have been used nationally by maternity care providers, insurance plans and home visiting programs since 1989, and which are a model for health literacy promoting materials for Medicaid beneficiaries.  She is a mother, grandmother and foster parent living in Seattle.
Contact Sandra at: SandraS@beginningsguides.com
Linda Wollesen, R.N., M.A., LMFT 
Supervising Public Health Nurse
Director of Life Skills Outcomes, LLC.
Seattle, WA
Born in New York and raised in California, Ms. Wollesen lives in Fredericksburg, VA. She received her B.S. from California State University at Los Angeles, and her M.A. from the University of Santa Clara. Ms. Wollesen is the proud mother of one daughter, who lives in Colorado. Her professional experience includes public health nursing in four California Counties, nursing consultant for infants and young children in two diagnostic agencies, pilot grant work for foster care nursing, administration of a children's medical case management/funding program and supervision of public health nursing services, including a site of the research based home-visitation program, "Nurse-Parent Partnerships" developed by David Olds, Ph.D., & Associates. Currently, Ms. Wollesen is the Director of Life Skill Outcomes, LLC and also serves as a private trainer and consultant for Reflective Practice and Home Visitation Outcomes. Her life-long interests include flower arranging, writing Haiku, fly fishing and wilderness trips. 
Contact Linda at: stillmtntwo@gmail.com
About the Artwork
Laurel Burch
Born with the rare bone disease, osteopetosis, her brittle bones were always breaking or in danger of doing so. Because of this disease, Laurel was familiar with feelings of vulnerability and aware of the importance of trusting one's body. Much of the colorful imagery in her art came to her in times of healing while seeking inner strength within a fragile body.
Laurel named the figures on the Beginnings covers and posters "Kindred Spirits."  We have come to call them the "Beginnings Mothers." In these figures, Laurel demonstrated her interest in cultures and expressed a tribute to human relationships...to the ability to share, to embrace, to support, to nurture, to give these gifts and to receive them from others.
Laurel donated the fees paid for the use of her art on the Beginnings materials to the Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition.
On September 13, 2007, Laurel passed away due to complications from the bone disease she suffered with for so long. She will be greatly missed. To learn more about Laurel Burch and her artwork, please visit:
Laurel Burch & Beginnings Guides awarded 2006 Human Rights Award
The United Nations Association-USA, San Diego honored artist Laurel Burch with its Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award for her artwork on Beginnings Guides and its contribution to maternal child health. The award was a part of UNA’s anniversary celebration of 60 years promoting international collaboration through the principles of the United Nations.
Website Builder provided by  Vistaprint