Opinion: Early education proven to be key

I’m writing in support of Let’s Grow Kids, the public education campaign focused on the importance of children’s earliest years. Vermont is a special and pioneering state that holds unique opportunities for families. Its beauty and wonderful people led me to raise my six children and help raise a niece and three nephews here.
I am a childcare provider. My decades of child development include: working or volunteering in public and private schools (preschool through high school) and positions as a nanny and governess (beginning at birth) caring for children, all ages, with varying abilities and setbacks.
Vermonters have always recognized the importance of stewarding the next generation. However, we need to focus more on preparing our children to succeed by focusing on their earliest years. Eighty percent of a child’s brain develops in the first three years of life — setting a foundation for all learning and social-emotional skills. Healthy brain development depends on quality early childhood experiences including an interactive, stimulating learning environment and supportive, nurturing relationships. Good nutrition, proper rest, guidance in making safe, healthy and thoughtful decisions, teaching values, etc., are also important.
As a community, we need to provide our children the opportunities they need to be successful, responsible, productive, and happy in the world.
Please join me in the support of Let’s Grow Kids campaign to encourage Vermonters to focus on the early years of our children. Please sign the pledge at www.letsgrowkids.org.
Patti Smith

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