Why Should Parents Care if Their Child is in a High-Quality Early Learning Program?
Decades of research indicate that children who receive high-quality care and learning from an early age have lasting positive effects such as entering kindergarten ready to learn, better behavior and health, higher graduation rates, lower juvenile crime, decreased adolescent pregnancy rates, and higher job earnings.
It is crucial for a child to receive quality care from birth as social, emotional, cognitive and physical development is interrelated and begins right away. Neuroscience shows that a child’s brain grows the fastest during these first three years of life, providing the foundation for all future learning. Disparities in development, especially with children in lower income homes, are evident as early as nine months of age.
A child’s every day experiences and surroundings, whether it is in the home with his family or outside the home with a child care provider, influence his development and learning. Parents should look to provide their child with a high-quality, rich learning environment that includes a selection of toys that are age-appropriate and promote interest and development; books and music that provide exposure to lots of words; a care-giver who is attuned to their child’s individual needs, supporting his curiosity and nurturing his growth.
Thankfully in Georgia, through the Quality Rated program, parents have an easy way to distinguish early child care programs that have been identified as providing high-quality experiences. Our 877-ALL-GA-KIDS free resource assists parents in their search for the best early child care possible by incorporating the Quality Rated star rating system in the search criteria.
More resources for learning about the importance quality plays in child care:
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- Quality Rated
- National Association for the Education of Young Child Standards for Quality Care
- The Heckman Equation