Why Quality Care Matters
A foundation for lifelong success.
The first several years of life set the foundation for all aspects of human development. This is when we develop our capacity to love and feel, to have a sense of self, and to adapt to the environment around us. It starts at infancy. Through early childhood, healthy development hinges on how young children are nurtured by their families and those who care for them.
Get updates in your inbox.
Giving babies a chance.
Prevention of mental health problems starts with the healthy social and emotional development of babies. From birth through three-years, it's critical that nurturing relationships and positive life experiences take place. Healthy, supportive interactions with adults give young kids the social and emotional skills that kids need to develop.
Everyone who comes in contact with very young children — from parents to grandparents to other caretakers — needs to understand how important it is to provide positive experiences and enrichment. Young children need to be loved, nurtured and supported.
What makes a good childcare or VPK program?
Pre-K and early childhood care programs are successful when they teach children to be curious and to love learning and problem-solving. To achieve this, programs need to give kids the chance to learn hands-on and connect what they're learning to their everyday lives. Teachers and caregivers, like parents and family members, should have meaningful conversations with children and ask them lots of questions. Children need to be asked what they're thinking and what they want to know. They not only deserve this — they need it to develop.
Early childhood programs also help kids learn skills they need to be successful in a school setting. What may be very simple for us, like how to wait, is very hard for kids who are 3 to 5. Great programs help children learn self control, turn-taking, sharing, and how to handle feeling frustrated and mad.
"Lawrence Schweinhart, who conducted the Perry Preschool Project, discovered that high-quality early care and education does more than pay significant returns to young children and their families. He noted the tremendous benefits to others in society, including taxpayers, as the costs associated with special education services and student grade repetition are lowered. When young children from underserved communities are better prepared for Kindergarten, they are more likely to receive higher grades in school, graduate from high school, meet future labor force demands, and increase their lifelong earning potential." Excerpt from BEING BLACK IS NOT A RISK FACTOR: Statistics and Strengths-Based Solutions in the State of Florida.
Learning doesn't stop at school.
Build opportunities to learn into all of your everyday parenting moments. Whether you're waiting in line to get your groceries or you're walking in your yard looking a butterflies and bees, you can talk to your young child. Ask them what they think, tell them how you feel, and give their developing brain lots of opportunities to learn on the fly.