Thoughtful Parenting: Celebrate children in April |

Thoughtful Parenting: Celebrate children in April

Angela Pleshe
Thoughtful Parenting

Every April, we celebrate the Month of the Young Child. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) first established the Month of the Young Child in 1971 as a way to bring awareness that the early childhood years (birth-age 8) lay the foundation for success in school as well as in many aspects of life.

Early childhood education (ECE) programs play a pivotal role in the comprehensive system of services that support young children’s health and development.

First Impressions of Routt County serves as the hub for local ECE resources. We strive to strengthen and streamline services for children and their caregivers. First Impressions envisions a community where all Routt County families have access to affordable, equitable and culturally appropriate early childhood care and education options for their children.

Why does Early Childhood Education Matter?

• Brain capacity — Between birth and age 5, a child’s brain develops more than at any other stage of their life. The brain completes 90% of its growth before the child enters kindergarten. It is imperative to take full advantage of this period to ensure educational success in the future.

• Social Skills — Socializing with people other than family is an integral part of childhood education. Learning how to interact with others be it peers or teachers, is necessary for educational success.

• Concentration — Young children have short attention spans. Early childhood education programs give them the opportunity to discover new environments, experiences and connections while working on their ability to focus. By the time children go to kindergarten, they know how to listen, participate in group tasks, follow directions and concentrate on individual projects.

Children and families are an important part of what makes Routt County a vibrant and attractive place to live. These past two years have been difficult for all of us. There is a critical shortage of early childhood teachers and staff, leading to a very limited supply of childcare slots.

This has affected families, providers, employers and, therefore, the whole community. There is one very important thing that we must not forget: our children.

They have had their lives turned upside down by center and school closures, their favorite teachers and/or friends leaving, stressed parents trying to juggle working from home or hoping to find alternative care. Our children, now more than ever, need stable, enriching environments to learn, grow and thrive.

Angela Pleshe is the program leader for First Impressions of Routt County.

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