Center for American Progress on Education
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By Talking With Baby

Last week I watched a conversation about U.S.
competitiveness and investments in education today and concerns for the future.  This was hosted on CSPAN-2 for Center for
American Progress.  I found the
statistics alarming when comparing the United States to up and coming China and
India.  In the next 10 years, this panel
predicts major changes if we do not improve our education system.  They also stated that the people now retiring
are better educated than the young people entering the job market today. 

The emphasis was on making an investment in education,
paying particular attention to K through 12. 
There is mention of early childhood (birth to 3), but I didn’t get the
impression there is all that much focus on it. 
Could that be because it’s too hard to capture that audience if these
babies are not sent to a facility?  I
emailed one of the people on the panel with this concern and there was an
agreement that early childhood education is “extraordinarily important.” 

How do you get the attention of parents who have
babies?  Research consistently shows
there is tremendous brain growth starting at birth.  Are we already behind the ball if we do not
make the most of this precious time?  Do
not get me wrong, I don’t believe our pre-K kids should be performing division
by 2 numbers to qualify, as I understand China does, but to introduce fun in
learning which will lead to more learning. 
That is the basis of Talking with Baby – involve parents and start with
language and literacy.  How can anyone
function without language and literacy skills?

So how do concerned citizens get the attention of new
parents?   The administration requires
language, literacy and parental involvement for early childhood education.  How do educational professionals, caregivers
and day cares attain this?  Educating
from birth to three is something parents (and only parents) can be in control of
completely.  Educators and caregivers are
at the mercy of what a parent decides to do in the home.  One day care provider told me she likes to
use sign language in her daycare and can tell which parents use it at home and
which do not.  Ones that use sign
language are better behaved and are happier children. 

What’s worse?  Babies
have no control and no choice over the early learning they receive.  Start this minute with your new baby.  It doesn’t mean a small child is plopped in
front of the TV or DVD, but receives one on one instruction from the people
they love.  Learn and teach a new
sign.  Help your child get ready for the
future.

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