It Starts at the Beginning
We worry about our students graduating from high school. It isn’t enough that we pay special attention to our high school seniors in 12th grade. We must start nurturing and guiding them way before that, from the moment that they are born.
When a child is born, we ooh and aah at the beauty of new life. Parents, friends and relatives imagine where this child will go, who they will turn out to be, the mark they will make on the world. This is when everyone should be thinking of the child crossing the graduation stage, proudly in their cap and gown, earning their high school diploma, ready to take on the world.
The Most Important 1000 Days
A child’s first 1000 days or first three years are the most important of their lives. A child needs to be held, caressed, touched, spoken to, and loved in order to have a chance to develop their full potential as a person. When home environments are safe and stable, then children thrive, are curious, and are ready to explore the world. It is so important that housing and neighborhoods are safe and that families are financially stable and nurturing. Family support and parent education programs provide information to new parents to strengthen positive parent-child relationships. Relief nurseries such as Family Building Blocks and Healthy Families Oregon are available to assist parents. These foundational elements cannot be made up for later.
Families and concerned adults around young children are most important and are their first teachers. They can help the children around them by telling stories, reading or singing together, teaching kids to work together, set reliable schedules, and teaching kids about the richness of their own family cultures.
Community aids to pre-school children to prepare for school are federally-funded Head Start programs and the state funded Oregon Pre-Kindergarten. Young kids are taught to manage their emotions, follow routines, manage their own actions, focus and pay attention, be curious, take initiative, use their imaginations, and start to learn letters and sounds and basic math concepts.
Kindergarten in Oregon is not mandatory but does prepare children for what’s up ahead on the educational journey. And it’s available to every Oregon child. When kids are ready to learn, they soak up new knowledge easily, and learning is fun and exciting. Do enroll your child in kindergarten. No one wants their child to show up for the first day of first grade confused and bewildered by everything that is going on.
Ready for Take-off
When children are nurtured from birth, when they start their formal educational journeys, they are eager and excited. They will be confident of themselves, ready to learn, and ready for whatever lies ahead. Prepare your graduating high school senior at the beginning, from the moment they are born.