By: Steve Ames
A young child, by age 4, has an extraordinary number of connections in his or her brain. Hundreds of trillions. In a baby, these connections are created as fast as 1,000 per second. These first four or five years are THE most important time in any person’s life. During this period their lighting-fast brain development either builds pathways for success, or not, depending on their experience.
Quality experiences for babies and toddlers mean stable and positive interactions with adults in their lives. Playing, talking, singing, reading – right from the very beginning.
Over the last couple of years working in early childhood, I have become more and more impressed with the importance of quality early experiences and how they contribute to healthy brain development for children. At the same time, it’s the extraordinary work by parents, child care providers and preK educators throughout the area that is helping to raise the most wonderful kids I’ve met yet!
In the Lamoille Valley more than 68% of kids have both parents in the workforce, so we really depend on child care providers – early educators – to help our kids to grow and flourish to their best potential. I’m lucky to work together with many of these folks to be sure that support is there for kids and their families, and many others who advocate for this critical part of childhood.
An especially wonderful resource for us has been the Lamoille Family Center, which runs playgroups, a child care center, and parent education classes, and provides support to children who can grow better with a little bit of help and coaching.
As the Regional Coordinator for Building Bright Futures, Steve staffs The Lamoille Valley Building Bright Futures Regional Council, a volunteer committee focused on the well being of young children and their families. There is one such Council in each of twelve regions of the State. Steve also works with the Playroom in Morrisville. He writes about early childhood, families, community, play, and equity.