The Importance of Early Childhood

From birth to age 5, a child’s brain develops more than at any other time in life.

Preschool studies begun in the 1960s and since continue to draw the same conclusion: children who receive quality early education consistently have higher success rates in school and beyond. And when the child comes from a low-income community, the impact of quality preschool is even more pronounced.

As a 2017 study once again concluded, as shared by EducationWeek, "high-quality early-childhood programs boost graduation rates, reduce grade retention and cut down on special education placements."

Critical Development Period

Did you know that 90% of the brain is developed in the first five years of life? Many of the important skills that contribute to a child’s success in school and in life are developed before formal schooling begins. A quality early childhood program will guide a child’s development on all fronts.

 

From the earliest days of infancy up through pre-kindergarten, children need to be guided and stimulated to become caring, thinking, confident, active individuals. This means providing them with an early childhood education program that nurtures their social, physical, emotional and intellectual development.

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Times Have Changed

As shared by partner Smart Beginnings Virginia Peninsula
 

  • Preschool (or “nursery school”) was once considered a place for merely “socializing” a child, but today we know that social development is only part of what children need....their cognitive, physical, and emotional growth are equally important.
     

  • The majority of American children live in a family where all adults are employed, and therefore most will need some level of child care.
     

  • Child care used to be just “babysitting,” but today it is the place where most children get their preschool education.
     

  • The skills children learned in kindergarten two decades ago are now skills children are expected to already have on the first day of kindergarten.

  • Preschool is increasingly focused on social-emotional skills like communication and expressing feelings, which are shown to directly correlate to a child’s success in kindergarten

  • Today we must ensure that child care centers and preschools are of the highest quality and that all children have access to them.

 

Looking for a quality child care program? Explore our centers in Hampton Roads

Today's Workforce, Tomorrow's Workforce

Ensuring that child care centers have both quality programming and financial stability has both a short-term and long-term effect. For parents of young children who are currently working, access to high-quality care for their children will raise their productivity. Parents with reliable child care are shown to have fewer absences from work. That quality and reliability also consistently lowers the stress level for parents, as they spend not only less time trying to find care when their center abruptly closes, but also less mental strain worrying through the workday about their child's well-being.

At the same time, quality child care is shaping the minds and skills of tomorrow's workers. As referenced above, children who attend quality preschools perform better on all fronts: academically, socially, emotionally, and physically.  That means we're investing in future workers who will have critical thinking skills, self-control, teamwork mindsets, healthy and fit bodies, and a strong educational foundation that will carry them to finish high school and continue their education with college or a skilled trade.

Ready to get involved with our cause? Here's how.

Want to learn more about early childhood and its impact? Visit our Resources page.