GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — This is the 50th annual Week of the Young Child, a time to recognize early childhood development and celebrate the educators who help kids along the way.
According to First Steps Kent, 80% of a child’s brain is developed within the first 3 years.
“The first people who touch a child’s life is so important,” said Annemarie Valdez, the president of First Steps Kent. “Especially making sure that we intervene early in a child’s development so that they’re able to be ready and reach their full potential for kindergarten.”
Valdez says a big problem for early childhood educators is that they don’t get paid enough, especially during a pandemic, when many are going above and beyond.
“One of the things that we don’t really think about often or talk about is that their pay is very low, so they have a passion for this work,” said Valdez.
Valdez says people can get involved by being aware.
“It’s really important to talk to each other to make sure if there are young children in your lives or young parents that you’re able to talk to them about a child’s development and how important brain development is early on, providing activities and stimulating developmentally. Appropriate activities for children are essential,” said Valdez.
By doing this, she says more children will be prepared and more educators will feel supported in the future.
“A child’s development is really crucial to their success in life,” said Valdez.
More information about Week of the Young Child can be found online.