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Mel Gravely

Give your child a Head Start – the earlier, the better

You may have noticed that many of my blogs are brought about from valuable discussions and comments in our Head Start/Early Head Start LinkedIn group.

Members of our group, comprised mostly of Head Start managers and officers, educators, youth advocates and others in the social services industry were asked, “What is a big concern you’re dealing with this week?” This informed group shared their insights and contributed some great comments. However, one specific comment caught my attention because her emphasis was on the important role parents play in early childhood cognitive development.

Introduced by Deborah McNelis, an early brain development specialist and owner of Brain Insights, was a concern with helping expectant parents of newborns understand the impact of the early years of a baby’s life. Even I was surprised to discover that “85% of a baby’s brain development happens before Kindergarten.” Her thoughts paralleled my own in that eligible parents need to get involved with an Early Head Start program (birth – 3 years) as soon as possible.

In an earlier post, Parental Involvement is key to children’s success, I talked about how research has shown the more that parents are involved in their children’s education, the better off their kids will be – emotionally and academically. However, what is not as well-known, is how critical a parent’s involvement is in a child’s early years and can determine if this later success happens. Early Head Start involves helping parents understand the importance of providing healthy foods for their child, introducing academics at the appropriate time, minimizing a child’s time in front of a screen, and best ways to cultivate the baby brain in our over-scheduled lives.

To learn more, I invite you to visit the Early Head Start Learning & Knowledge Center and find out how to get the most for you and your baby.

Some additional resources worth checking out:

I welcome your thoughts here, and ask that you join our LinkedIn group to help other Head Start parents, teachers and children benefit from your experience.

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