NEWARK, Del. (Nov. 4, 2013) — From birth to age eight is a critical time for brain development, and states need to invest more in kids during that window of time, according to a report released Nov. 4 by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Delaware is recognized as a state that has heeded the importance of that time frame: It issued a state strategic plan for an early childhood system last year.
“We know that so much brain architecture is created and so much development is happening in those first eight years that we need a professional work force who understands and knows how to help those things along,” said Janice Barlow of Kids Count in Delaware, who adds that the points in the plan are still being carried out.
The report’s statistics show that 43,000 Delaware children up to age eight live in low-income households, and financial instability is linked to below-average school readiness by kindergarten time. High-quality preschool focuses not only on education but also social, emotional and physical health.
Barlow said the whole way of thinking about the early years is undergoing a change: Daily care isn’t just “babysitting.”
“It’s having parents understand that instead of looking for care for my child, it’s looking for quality care,” she stated.
The report, “The First Eight Years: Giving Kids a Foundation for Lifetime Success,” is at AECF.org.