Invest By 5: Why Early Learning Matters
We all send our children to kindergarten with no questions asked. We trust their teachers to shape their little growing minds so that one day, our baby will walk down the aisle and get their diploma at 18. We invest so much in our children from kindergarten through 12th grade… but what about all those years before they turn 5?
The most important years of your child’s life are from the day they are born until they reach the big High Five milestone birthday. Within this short period of time, 90 percent of children’s brain is fully developed but ironically, there isn’t a huge push on education or even mandatory schooling during these first five years.
Early learning sets the foundation for a child to have a more successful future. A new home built with a strong foundation stands strong over the years and retains more positive memories and experiences. A home built on a poor foundation can be fixed, but it takes more time, money and extra assistance to correct. A child’s early learning experiences help them cope with different life experiences and build relationships with the people around them.
Supporting early learning is not complicated; no one expects parents to sit down with their baby and start practicing long division. Here are a few ways to go about it, and you might be doing some of the following without even knowing it:
- Bonding over stories as you lay your baby down for the night. Those tiny ears and eyes are never too young to hear and see robust words, or even the words from the fashion article you may be reading. Implementing early learning on your own doesn’t have to be costly either. It can be as simple as visiting the local library for story time.
- Taking your child to the park to walk the nature trail is not only relaxing and allows for breathing in fresh air, but it’s a great way to discover the sights, sounds and textures around you.
- Bringing children to Sunday church service is another great way to practice early learning, as it can become a cultural experience where they can learn about family traditions and values and see different people from your community. It may even be filled with great uplifting music that you and your child can sing, dance or tap to.
- Reaching out to a childcare center with age-appropriate curriculum to foster early learning. As parents and caregivers, we may not always feel like we are doing our best at creatively teaching our children. Joining a center gives your child the opportunity to build relationships and trust in a caregiver other than a family member, grow their learning experience with children of similar ages, and discover the world through play. Many centers are staffed with trained teachers and directors to ensure your child is receiving the best education for their growing mind.
Your child is never too young to experience life. The more positive experiences you give them, the better foundation they will have. From the moment they are born, the Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough County is here as an extended support to you and your child as you prepare them for kindergarten.
*Presented by the Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough County | Originally Published in March 2022 issue of Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine.