I love having the opportunity to attend conferences and to learn new things! I become energized by new ideas, but I also realize how much of the work we do in FCPS is validated as best practice across the state and nation.
During the recent Maryland Association of Boards of Education conference, Dr. Ron Ferguson gave a keynote address on “Excellence with Equity: Meeting the Needs of All Students.” In that session, he challenged us to stop squandering the early years, and he noted that 80 percent of brain development happens in the first 3 years of life. He then shared information about a program called “The Boston Basics.” And, I believe we can make this happen in Frederick County, too!!
In Boston, civic organizations became energized to help parents understand 5 basic things they could do to help their child’s brain development. These 5 simple steps were:
- Maximize love, manage stress.
- Talk, sing, and point.
- Count, group, and compare.
- Explore through movement and play.
- Read and discuss stories.
Communicating how to implement these basic steps became a community focus. Information was made available in stores, salons, barber shops, doctor offices, restaurants and more. Resources were made available and civic groups supported classes and mentoring. The website http://boston.thebasics.org explains the program and resources.
In Maryland, many people (including me) have been advocating for funding for early childhood education. That’s a public policy that cannot only make a difference in the lives of children and families, but it can also strengthen and improve local public schools. But it’s important to point out that there are so many opportunities for early childhood education outside of school – every opportunity we take can benefit our youngest learners.
Staff in Frederick County Public Schools is working hard every day to eliminate the achievement gap. Wouldn’t it be great if our community could rally around eliminating the gap for our youngest children? Just imagine the return on that investment!
Tell me about your experience with education for our youngest learners – in school, at home, and in the community. What can we do as a community to boost our youngest learners? I’d love to hear from you on Twitter @FCPSMDSuper. And if you enjoyed this post, please feel free to share it on Facebook or Twitter.