Expect More Arizona: The importance of early learning

Expect More Arizona is a paid advertiser of Sonoran Living Live

Over the last few years, there has been more and more research focused on early brain development and the impact of the first years of life to a child's overall growth.  What we've learned is that 90% of a child's brain develops by the time they are 3 years old.   The fact is that the brain connections that are formed during those critical early years lay the foundation for the rest of the child's life.  As parents, we know that our children are like sponges - they are constantly learning and exploring and investigating the world around them.  All of this activity in those early years is critical to a child's overall social, emotional and intellectual development.

Parents can help ensure their child is learning and developing in the earliest years of life.  In fact, even in life's daily activities, parents can help children learn.  For example:   helping to sort laundry helps kids learn about shapes and colors. Cooking is a chance to learn about numbers and textures. And, grocery shopping gives an opportunity to spot letters and numbers, while building vocabulary.

Play time also offers a chance to learn while having fun. The best choices for toys are those that require interaction between adults and children. They include:
    Infants (under 1 year old) -  toys where the child's touch creates sounds, flashing lights or other action; toys they can safely chew on;  toys with mirrors, where they can observe facial expressions.
     Toddlers (1-3 years old) - toys they can ride on or climb on; balls to roll, catch, etc.; blocks or building-type toys; toys that encourage matching and sorting shapes, colors, or objects; and materials for playing with sand, water and other textures.
     Preschoolers (3-5 years old)  - anything that encourages imaginative play, such as dress-up clothes or toys that mimic household items or tools; puzzles and simple games; art supplies including plain white paper, markers, crayons, finger paints, molding clay or dough, etc.

One of the most important things parents can do is to read to their child.  Reading every day - 15 minutes per day for infants, up to 30 minutes a day for toddlers and preschoolers helps provide the foundation for early literacy development.  In addition, talking to your child and even singing songs together helps build those critical skills that will prepare them for success in school.
For more information and resources about Arizona education and building world-class education for all students, visit ExpectMoreArizona.org.

Expect More Arizona is a paid advertiser of Sonoran Living Live

Print this article Back to Top