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Quality Care Matters
Did you know there are only 2,000 days between the day a child is born and the first day they begin school? In this short time, 90 percent of all brain development takes place.
High-quality child care settings allow children to experience stimulating interactions in safe and healthy environments. Quality interactions facilitate up to 700 neural connections every second during those early years.
Visualize two child care settings:
The first setting is poorly lit and unclean. Many of the toys are broken and are mixed together in one box making it difficult for the children to find an item. The children spend much of their time watching television, and there are so many children that the caregiver is too overwhelmed to find time to interact with them. Most interactions consist of yelling at the children to "be good."
The second setting is well lit and clean. Materials, activities and concepts are accessible, interesting and presented appropriately to the children. The caregiver interacts with children as they move around the environment, playing with and exploring toys. Children with varying levels of ability are included and encouraged to play side-by-side with their peers. Teachers and children enjoy caring and nurturing relationships. Communication occurs throughout the day and children are encouraged to use reasoning and problem-solving skills.
If you were a child, which setting would you like to be in? Which setting would you prefer your child to be in? Which setting would you prefer to work in?
Research shows that poor quality environments have a detrimental effect on children. Children in low-quality early childhood settings are:
- Twice as likely to be in special education
- More likely to be unprepared and behind when they enter school with deficits that are difficult to make up
- 30 percent more likely not to go to college
- 70 percent more likely to be arrested for a violent crime, become a teen parent, drop out of school, spend the rest of their life in poverty
For more information, visit First Five Years Organization.