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Creating Positive Outcomes During Critical Development Ages 1-5

Updated: Sep 9, 2021

Classroom wall at HRSSA member Right Start Early Childhood Center (

There's more to cute titles for books like All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten than you might think.

We know brain development from birth to age 5 sets the foundation for children’s future success. Early childhood education needs to produce outcomes that not only provide skills needed for lifelong learning, but create successful futures in the workforce 20 years from now.

Our region plans for infrastructure and climate change. Our employers plan shipbuilding, new energies, and entrepreneurial corridors for completion years from now. But how will we address the need for workers if we don’t begin with our youngest children?

How essential is providing a high-quality environment to nurturing brain development and more for their growth throughout high school and beyond?

Let’s think about the value of cognitive skills. They're one of the most critical aspects in successfully completing high school, college, and beyond, because they involve our ability to process and manipulate information, reason, and solve problems. They also involve brain development impacting our perceptions, sustainable attention, and memory.

We know that high-quality preschool program will maximize a child's early cognitive skills. Virginia’s Early Learning & Development (ELDS) Birth-Five Learning Guidelines address the specific strategies for developing early thinking processes for:

  • Processing information

  • Reasoning

  • Language development

  • Intellectual development

  • Memory

For example, its "CD1.Science: The Natural and Physical World" indicates that children 34-48 months should answer questions to “what happens if” for making predictions, and should use drawings and building to demonstrate they are thinking about an object or idea. Whether you are looking at cognitive, social or language skills, a developmentally appropriate curriculum—delivered by trained caregivers—will ensure these children get the most from each stage of cognitive development.

How often do you hear high school teachers say a student lacks the processes for memorizing or the reading skills to understand abstract ideas? How often do employers realize, months after they have hired a new employee, that he or she seems unable to work independently to solve issues or to communicate effectively with the team?

Whether it’s cognitive, social, or a host of other skills, what starts before kindergarten impacts our children’s futures. A daily dose of quality learning must be accessible to all children.

What to ask yourself:

  • As an educator, what can I do to support the need for quality early child education in my center or beyond, in my community?

  • As a parent, what do I need to change and how for my child to gain an early child education to all of the cognitive, social and language skills he or she will need?

  • As an employer or community leader, what can I do to learn, advocate and support quality early child care education in southeastern Virginia?

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