The importance of early learning and brain development

We wanted to share the article below by the Center for Social Organization of Schools at Johns Hopkins University about the importance of early learning for children, specifically children ages 0-3, and how it it helps develop neural pathways in the brain.

“Why is Early Learning important?

Simply put, a child’s early years lay the foundation for all that is to come. In recent years, researchers have learned that the human brain develops the vast majority of its neurons, and is at its most receptive to learning, between birth and three years of age. In fact, the intake of new information is critical to the formation of active neural pathways (Shonkoff & Phillips, 2000).

Early education can play a critical role during this important developmental period. Research linking early intervention to both cognitive and socio-emotional gains has fueled the proliferation of early childhood programs since the early part of the twentieth century. The last four decades in particular have produced many new practices and principles for use in the classroom with young children, as well as countless books, videos, and activities to enrich the home environment.

Several states have announced plans to implement universal preschool programs. In the last five years, the Federal government has produced several critically important books on early childhood education (Bowman, Donovan, & Burns, 2001; Shonkoff & Phillips, 2000; Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 1998) and has provided record contributions for the development and dissemination of effective practices.”

Allentown Promise Neighborhoods has been partnering with Community Services for Children for the past several months on a free bilingual home visitation program knowns as Little School/Escuelita. It uses the nationally recognized “Parents as Teachers” model to parents of children ages 3 and 4 in the neighborhood. CSC staff member Cassondra Lander works with the parents to assess each child’s current developmental level and then creates a program specific to each child to help them advance their skills. She visits with the families up to 12 times per year to monitor the progress being made and to recommend additional areas for improvement. Areas of focus include family literacy, nutrition and healthy lifestyle education, health and developmental screenings, school readiness strategies, and help with kindergarten registration.

To learn more about Little School/Escuelita, please contact:

Cassondra Lander, Allentown Promise Neighborhood Home Visitor

Community Services For Children
1520 Hanover Ave.
Allentown Pa, 18109
(610) 437-6000 ext. 2170

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