As a mom, I am in the habit of thinking that whatever age my kids happen to be is THE most critical stage in their development. This makes sense, of course – when they were little I worried about reading readiness, while nowadays I stay up nights fretting about SAT scores. And certainly, every age and stage is an important part of a child’s growth and development.
Increasingly, though, research is demonstrating the importance of the early years. In fact, according to the Early Care and Education Consortium (ECEC), 80 percent of a child’s brain development occurs before age five.
Knowing this, it makes sense that quality child care and early education programs can have a huge impact on our kids’ development – and conversely, a lack of good early childhood education can threaten a child’s long-term academic success.
Busy parents – especially in military families – need the peace of mind that comes with knowing that their children are in a safe, nurturing environment while they are at work. Some military families are able to enroll their children in their installation Child Development Center. Other families find care outside the installation through the Services’ fee assistance program administered by Child Care Aware .
Still, we know that the demand for quality child care is far greater than the supply. And for many families, the cost of quality child care or preschool is far out of reach. For this reason, our Association was pleased by President Obama’s recent proposal to expand access to pre-kindergarten and early childhood education programs. We want to make sure all of our military kids have access to the quality early child care and education they and their parents need and deserve.
The ECEC wants to let our government leaders know how important early childhood education is, and they need your help! They have launched a campaign, Strong Start for Children to show Congress how much early child education means to children and families.
Do you have a great story about your child’s experience in child care or preschool? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and your story may be included in the campaign. Find out more at the ECEC’s Strong Start for Children page for parents. Every day, policymakers make decisions that impact you, your children, and your ability to access high-quality and reliable early care and education to meet your family’s needs. Make sure your voice is heard!