Pat Heiny and Nancy Green share insights and tips on working with birth to five populations, and their work with The Early Childhood Coalition:

The Early Childhood Coalition for Wayne County Kids brings together any organization or person who works with, supports, cares about young children. We invite YOU to join us.

Interestingly, the Coalition evolved from a 2015 question:  Why don’t students graduate from Ivy Tech? The lack of child care was an obvious answer. Surprisingly, the lack of a good educational foundation became apparent as well. 

That foundation begins at birth because 90% of the brain development occurs between birth and five years of age. That fact has framed the work of the coalition since its inception.

The coalition shares resources and ideas, works to educate the community in the power of early childhood experiences, and creates bridges among our varied constituents. Our ultimate goal is: “to ensure that all children are prepared to successfully enter kindergarten.”

Children can be found in all aspects of your life — your neighborhood, your faith community, a local pre-school, co-workers, friends and extended family. There are many things you can do to ensure that the young children in your life have a good start.

5 Things You Can Do Daily

We encourage adults to do these five things daily with young children, specifically in that birth to five age range:

  • READ – Read books and encourage your child to read with you.
  • SING – teach the children songs and sing with them. Don’t worry – it doesn’t need to be on key.
  • TALK – Talk to the child and describe what you see (vocabulary development is natural this way). Encourage them to ask questions.
  • PLAY – allow time for playing, help them try new things.
  • MODEL THE WAY – Be a role model for good behavior.

Basic Life Skills

Kindergarten teachers tell us that entering kindergartners need to have basic life skills. These basic life skills come from regular interaction with a trusted adult.  Your positive relationship with a child provides the foundation for their kindergarten readiness. Here are some things you can practice regularly with kids entering kindergarten:

  • Zip, button, snap, tie
  • Put on a jacket
  • Know their first and last name
  • Sit in a chair
  • Be able to follow 2-step directions
  • Use crayons
  • Wait their turn
  • Be kind to one another
  • Flush the toilet

The future workforce for a vibrant, prosperous Wayne County begins with our youngest.  Join us in making the first five years a rich experience, laying a secure foundation for future success.

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