PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA

Prospecting

Is your child ready? Early investments in children

By From page B2 | November 04, 2013

Ninety percent of brain development takes place from birth to age 5. That means before your child enters kindergarten, the majority of their brain has been wired for learning.

I have never met a parent that didn’t want the very best for their child. At the same time, I know that children don’t come with instructions.

First 5 El Dorado Children and Families Commission was established to support expectant parents and families with children ages 0 through 5 years of age. Last year, 74 percent of incoming kindergarten students in El Dorado County were ready for school. The commission’s vision is that all children in the county are ready to learn when they enter kindergarten.

Each month I ask “Is your child Ready?” By asking this question I hope to encourage parents to be their child’s first teacher in preparing them for school and lifelong learning. Here are five ways to support your child’s optimal development:

1. Take your child to all well‐child visits and see a dentist by the first tooth or first birthday. Children who attend well-child visits are healthier and better able to learn. First 5 El Dorado helps families with young children to find health insurance, choose doctors and dentists and encourages families to attend all well-child visits.

2. Welcome your newborn. Families that are connected with community services have more resources to support their family. Children born in El Dorado County receive personalized community resources through a home visit by nursing staff from Marshall and Barton hospitals.

3. Make sure your child is developing on track. Parents who regularly screen their child’s development have a better understanding of whether they are meeting critical milestones. Through Early Childhood Specialist, First 5 El Dorado is assisting parents in conducting developmental screens and providing support for everyday parenting issues.

4. Choose high quality early care and education programs. Children in high quality early care and education programs are better prepared for school. First 5 El Dorado supports early care and education providers in offering safe programs, rich learning environments and providers that engage the children in their care.

5. Read with your child each day. Reading, singing and talking with your child each day increases their ability to learn and read. First 5 El Dorado encourages families to read to their children daily by supporting storytimes, providing books and offering early literacy activities at local libraries.

The commission also supports community networks by regularly bringing local partners together through community strengthening groups in each region of the county.

This month, First 5 El Dorado Children and Families Commission celebrates 15 years of investing in expectant parents and families with young children in the county.

For more information on the commission and its initiatives visit the Website at first5eldorado.com.

Kathleen Guerrero

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