This week, early childhood professionals across the country are celebrating the Week of the Young Child. Community and classroom events are highlighting the crucial importance of the early years to a child’s lifelong success. But, they are also highlighting the importance of the partnership between parents and professionals in nurturing that success.
The interactions between young children and their caregivers – parents and their early child care and education providers – determine how their brain develops. The higher quality the interactions, the stronger the foundation is built for a child’s future learning.
Parents and professionals can partner in several ways. First and foremost, both can do their part to provide stimulating, nurturing experiences that support a child’s healthy development across all areas: academic, physical and social. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) provides a wealth of resources for families and professionals to promote ongoing learning about ways to engage young minds. These resources stress the importance of understanding how young children learn – through observation, exploration and play. They also provide ways to incorporate that knowledge into everyday interactions with young children.
Another way parents and professionals can support each other is by promoting public policies that support early learning. The resources available to young children in their communities and their classrooms play a crucial role in supporting school readiness and success. NAEYC provides resources to support both parents and professionals in understanding and advocating for public policies that support young children. This information, networking and support encourage both families and teachers to become better informed and more active voices on behalf of young children.
By working together, families and educators can ensure that today’s young children – and generations still to come – have the support they need to succeed in school, starting at birth!
Martha Muñoz is President of Arizona Association for the Education of Young Children. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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