We all know that the first years of our children’s lives are the most critical to development. Tennessee continues to add more pre-kindergarten classes to its public schools. Its future goal is to have a preschool program that is available to all children. Massachusetts is also among several other states that are reforming education to include adequate pre-kindergarten and full day kindergarten classes for all children.
However, not only educators are supporting early learning. Pediatricians alike will agree that early intervention is important. Dr. Sean Palfrey, former president of the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, also agrees with early education for all children. A quote from him sums up his compete attitude toward early education.
“High-quality early education is one of the most effective prescriptions Massachusetts pediatricians know of to accomplish this goal (a child succeeding in life).”
For the first three years of a child’s life, pediatricians focus on growth, weight, health, and proper vaccines. By the age of three, their focus begins to turn to behavior and developmental. Pediatricians will begin asking questions about the child’s knowledge. They question about the child’s play, recognition of colors and numbers, and fine motor skills.
Between the ages of two and six, a child’s mind takes in every piece of information that it can get its hands on. The mind of a child this age absorbs information, processes language, and learns behavior faster than you and I are capable of doing. The self-confidence, patterns, and behavior that a child develops will remain with him or her throughout his or her life.
Much research has shown us that the information a child learns in the first six years will be the foundation for creating that child’s strengths and weaknesses. For this reason, more and more focus is being placed on early education programs. States are spending millions of dollars to upgrade and intensify their preschools and kindergartens. It is important that children enter school with a background that allows them to succeed.