As I scrolled news headlines last week, I noticed that a story about early childhood education had made the front page of the New York Times. That's new. That's different. And it's about time.
This is a moment for the early childhood field. A moment that our speakers at the Building Brains: The Science of Early Childhood Development event reminded us about. It's a moment for us to talk about the science behind our profession and lift our voices.
So, what can we share about early childhood?
1. Children Learn Through Relationships
Children begin to mimick, interact, and engage with their caregivers as early as minutes after their birth. These moments, and the responses they receive from caregivers, are the first form of learning.
2. Care and Education are Not Separate.
Children learn through relationships, and relationships are formed through the everyday repetitive acts -- changing a diaper, engaging in conversation during mealtimes, singing a song before naptime -- that help children feel safe and secure and are therefore a learning moment.
3. Play IS Learning
Play is the way children learn. It helps them to develop so many important skills - all at the same time. So, children are never "just playing," they're engaging in complex work that's fostering their development.
4. The Work of an Early Educator is Hard
It's not easy to support a young child who's learning to process their emotions for the first time in a group setting. It's not easy to keep young children engaged, curious, and excited. And it's not easy to recognize what each child needs, and tailor the interactions and support that child receives. But it's what early educators do day in and day out to foster each child's development.
5. The Time to Tell Our Stories Is Now
Congress is debating funding opportunities to support and build an early childhood system. Join groups like NAEYC, Child Care Aware, and the First Five Years Fund to elevate the voices of families and early childhood educators to ensure that Congress prioritizes early childhood the way it should.
About Building Brains
Building Brains: The Science of Early Childhood Development was a 3-day virtual symposium hosted by Kaymbu 360. Early childhood educators work with children during one of the most critical developmental periods of their lives -- experiences at this young age are instrumental in shaping their future health and well-being. But what is actually occurring in a young child’s brain in their early years of life? How do environmental and social factors influence brain development? And what does this research mean for educators as they work to support children’s healthy and positive outcomes?
To answer these questions and more, we sat down with researchers, industry experts, policy advocates, and educators like you.
About the Author
Anna Marrs is a former early literacy curriculum developer and a former certified teacher in North Carolina. She holds a Master's in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and now works on the Education team at Kaymbu.