By Andrea Miller
When I first heard about The Basics, I had a 4-year old and a rising third grader. Surely I knew all there was to know about helping my children be all they could be in life. In the early years, it can feel like an achievement just to get past the terrible twos and threes! But the data nerd in me was wowed by the brain science behind The Basics:
- 80% of the brain develops by the time a child is 3 years old; 90% by the age of 5
- Big cognitive differences develop between children that come from middle and upper income households and those that come from lower income households by the time a child is 1!
- Talking to and reading to young children on a daily basis puts them on track for kindergarten – all because of the intense neural development that is going on in the early years.
So, strategies that seem so…basic, began to be anchored by the facts of how our brains develop. Once a child’s brain architecture is set around age 5, it is more difficult to help them read on grade level. Not reading on grade level impacts their long-term success in school since kids must read to learn in 4th grade and beyond. Helping babies and children be all they can be isn’t expensive. It just requires caregivers to be actively engaged with children – talking, singing, reading, playing, and helping them feel loved!
Today, every time I interact with a parent of a 0-5 year old, I encourage them. I praise them in the library when I see them reading actively with their child. If they are struggling with the big emotions of toddlerhood, I tell them what good work they are doing helping their child feel safe, loved, and able to develop the very important skill of emotional regulation. As a community, we all can come alongside parents and we can advocate for the importance of early childhood brain development.
The Basics are powerful tools and easy to use during normal routines. They are:
- Maximize Love, Manage Stress at home
- Talk, Sing, and Point
- Count, Group, and Compare to develop early math skills
- Explore Through Movement and Play
- Read and Discuss Stories
*Sponsored by The Basics Guilford