Editorial: Opportunities to support our children

Mar. 30, 2014 @ 02:24 PM

We’re ready to see the purple ribbons. April arrives on Tuesday, and with it the Month of the Young Child.

Like past years, activities will be many throughout the Tri-County area. The Week of the Young Child is April 6 to 12.

Working for the needs, rights and benefits of young children through education and development is no easy mission. But the National Association for the Education of Young Children does just that.

Started in 1971, the celebration has continued annually and helps focus attention on the needs of young children and their families.

The importance of preparing our children begins prior to birth.

Genes of the parents influence what happens to their children their brains develop — and a critical stage of that process happens quickly.

As children grow, their environment is paramount. That includes the home, child care, school and being out in the community. All of these places should be conducive to promoting early learning.

Reading to children is among the simplest of tasks parents can do. The first three to five years are critical. A child’s brain is forming connections, building a foundation for future learning.

And, given a child’s propensity to mimic, they may develop a love of reading in return.

Remember, it is a short time — about 2,000 days — between the time a child is born and goes to kindergarten. We like to think that is quality investment time, with high rewards then and especially later in life.

When a child can develop cognitive skills, emotional well-being, social competence, and sound physical and mental health, the chances of success well into adult years is substantially increased.

Good conditions for this essential development can reduce the likelihood to have costly problems at a later age.

Our society benefits when we all invest in the children.

According to the Children’s Defense Fund, about half a million children in our state live in poverty. Their parents are struggling to overcome debt and job loss.

Regardless of socio-economic status, the development of young children is paramount.

When you see the purple ribbons, be sure and smile. Ask a question of the one wearing it, and affirm your appreciation for all they do to support our children.