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The First Five Years
You often hear it said that “Children are resilient” – but perhaps not as resilient as we’d like to believe. There is staggering evidence that trauma in childhood has lasting effects and directly contributes to health, social, and economic outcomes in adulthood.
From birth to age five, children experience a surge in brain growth and cognitive ability that sets the framework for all future development.
Preschool plays an important role in preparing children to succeed in kindergarten. Publicly funded pre-K helps ensure that children of all income levels have access to preschool.
When it comes to the economics of child care, both sides are hurting. For parents, the cost of child care is a huge financial burden. For child care providers, the financial compensation is grossly inadequate.
Every child needs one person who is crazy about him, said renowned psychologist Uri Bronfenbrenner. This affirming human connection is the prerequisite for healthy social and emotional development, which is a necessary foundation for all learning.
Poverty erodes the joy of childhood. And it affects development as children experience insecure housing, insufficient food, inadequate medical care, and lack of stimulating learning experiences.
Quality child care can be found in many settings – family child care, center-based care, Head Start or preschool. Indicators of quality include warm relationships, safe and stimulating environment, and developmentally appropriate planned activities for play-based learning.
Young children learn language by hearing words, especially conversation directed at them.
Family Support helps families identify strengths, set goals, and work toward them. Family Support Centers work with disadvantaged parents and young children, providing children with stimulating, nurturing child care while their parents take classes ranging from GED preparation to parenting techniques to life and job skills.