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Dr. Tisha Shipley has been in education for over 23 years. She has taught Pre-K, Kindergarten, Gifted and Talented 3rd-6th Grades, Dr. Shipley was an elementary principal, a cheer coach, and was on...
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Giving Students The Best Start

As proven in research, we know that the first five years of life are crucial times for a child’s learning and development. All children deserve a quality education, but before education comes, there are certain things they need from the family and community that surround them. Here are five ideas that are crucial from birth until the age of 5:

  1. Prenatal care (doctor's appointments, vitamins, healthy eating, blood tests, anything before the child is born) As an early childhood professional, reach out to mothers and give them ideas and resources that can help them with this.
  2. Parent support at home (reading books, talking to the baby, singing, eye contact, touch, good nutrition). As the child becomes a toddler (playdates, interaction with other children, vaccinations, healthy diets), If the child must attend daycare (quality care that is accredited)
  3. Head Start: Children that qualify should attend a Head Start that allows at-risk children to have a quality start in their educational endeavors. They help with many different aspects of the child and even the family. Private Preschool: This should be a quality school with standards, missions, visions, and philosophies that you agree with and where a child is encountering a curriculum that encompasses developmentally appropriate practices.
  4. Universal Pre-K: This is becoming more prevalent in many states. It is sometimes in public schools and sometimes in a different area of the community. Pre-K allows children to begin learning skills such as writing their names, numbers, colors, shapes, letters and sounds and how to be in social situations. They learn how to follow a daily schedule, they are exposed to a community of learners where they have responsibilities, and they learn to separate from their families for short amounts of time.
  5. Enrolling Children in Activities: As children are exposed to different situations and ideas, enrolling them in activities such as soccer, library time, skating, gymnastics, dance, art class, science fun, etc., are ways to start seeing what your child is interested in. This is important, and you may change every year so they can be in something different, but this is an important time to get children engaged. Children can, though, be over-engaged and too busy, so be careful how many things you put them. They still need a schedule and ensure that they have time to rest and eat a meal with their family.

It is important for children to get a good start. A good start being at home with the family and the larger community. As the child acclimates to education, the teacher and the school become another huge and crucial part of a child’s development and learning. Let's give all children the best possible first few years we can!

Teachers and early childhood advocates, and professionals are vital to a child’s early start. When early childhood professionals can document and share with families about how their child is developing, it helps build that reciprocal relationship. Digital portfolios are something that can help you not only document a child’s progress and how they are doing but also allows you to build a strong foundation and bond with families.