Time is a challenge for everybody.
But the juxtaposition is that, based on research, age 0-5 means everything. What immersion does he or she have in socialization? When is he or she introduced to music, concepts, language?
The clock is ticking from Day One, and you have a very narrow band of time to get it right.
So I find myself asking: Are we doing a good enough job of educating parents about how important age 0-5 is?
If you wait for preschool or kindergarten, you may have waited too late. The statistic that 80 percent of a child’s brain is developed by the time he or she is three years old is eye-opening. But what happens to the numbers if a child has one parent who is not involved, or a child is in foster care? Then all bets are off, in terms of the ability for the child to have that same fighting chance for a strong head start.
My wife and I didn’t do everything right for our daughter and son, by any stretch. But we did sign them up for early music education, my daughter at 2 and my son at 1. I believe that exposure greatly enhanced their language and math skills. And since, they’ve both developed an affinity toward music, which is a plus.
I was struck by the video of Israel and Kasch and what their mother said. Israel and Kasch’s Story
“This has been the most stable part of my kids’ life, coming to and from the YMCA every day,” she said.
We don't take that responsibility and opportunity to serve lightly.
Our child development centers provide a nurturing and safe environment.
“The Y’s mission is to get every child ready for kindergarten and to ignite their passion for learning,” said Stephanie Thomas, executive director of child care for the Y. “Our team of child care experts give kids opportunities to be inquisitive and learn through play.”
And we are committed to all kids.
I think of Ryan, a special needs child with muscle disorders. In a music class, he and other children were given ribbons to “shake around.” After a few moments, Ryan takes off and shakes that salmon-colored ribbon with so much enthusiasm.
It’s a moment of joy for all involved, from Ryan, to his family members and to anyone who watched the camera-phone shot video.
“You have been a HUGE part of Ryan’s experience,” one of his parents wrote to us. “Thanks for this tremendous mission moment. It has been fun to see this evolve slowly over time as a story, as it will continue to evolve in the future.”
But can the Y do more?
Are we doing enough in a pre-natal situation to emphasize how important it’s going to be when the clock starts ticking at Day 1? Can we do more to prepare parents about possible resources and opportunities to help their child’s immediate development?
Those are some questions I hope to have a better answer to sooner than later. Because for all the kids in our care, the clock is ticking.