|Scooped by Monica S Mcfeeters|
Today, unprecedented national attention is being focused on early childhood development. Policy makers, educators, and concerned citizens across the country are working to ensure that all children have the early experiences necessary for health, well-being, and optimal learning. In 1997, two White House conferences focused on early childhood—one on recent research on brain development, and a second on early childhood care and education. Both helped to fuel increased public conversation and action, from the halls of government to grass roots community organizations. Lawmakers in at least 20 states have voted to expand funding for programs that serve preschool children. Officials in some states are supplementing federally-funded Head Start programs with state dollars because only 40 percent of the children eligible for the program are actually receiving services. Other states have appropriated funds for pre-kindergarten programs for all children, regardless of family income. The current focus on early childhood is by no means limited to the three- to five-year-olds who are typically thought of as “preschoolers,” or to school-age children between the ages of five and eight. Early childhood education begins the moment a child is born. Recent neuroscientific research on infant brain development has provided reinforcement for what psychologists and educators have long believed: that experience in the first three years of life has a powerful influence on life-long development and learning.