What The Children Need
The children need adults who will bring them positive interactions and relationships. Every experience matters to them. Those healthy relationships promote healthy brain development. That brain development comes from such activities as reading, singing, talking, and playing.
Here is a list of how each activity affects the child’s brain:
When kids are read to, their brains build the neural connections that enable them to learn vocabulary. When children read a book again and again, connections in the child’s brain become stronger and more complex.
Singing and listening to a variety of music helps build music-related pathways in the brain. Music can have a positive effect on a child’s mood and strengthen certain thinking skills.
A child’s most intensive period for absorbing speech and language skills is during the first three years of life. These skills develop best in a world that is rich with sounds, sights, and consistent exposure to speech.
When children play, they develop a wide variety of skills, including gross motor skills (big movements of the arms, legs, and trunk), fine motor skills (small movements of the hands, fingers, mouth, and tongue), hand-eye coordination, visual tracking (following objects with both eyes), and cognitive skills like creative thinking, reasoning, problem solving, and listening.
When the adults develop healthy relationships and interactions through the “brain exercises to children in the at-risk communities we give them the opportunity to reach their full potential. Every child deserves a chance. We are here to ensure that happens.
The early brain development of children is so important. All children, no matter the socioeconomic status, deserve a chance. That’s why at Words On Wheels we bring the words to them. We bring volunteers to children, ages 0 to 5 years old, to play, sing, talk, and read to them.
How do we help make sure that children in at-risk communities have the same opportunity to reach their full potential? We bring adult volunteers who will build healthy relationships with the children by reading, singing, playing, and talking with them.
The volunteers will be trained in the specific ways of interacting with the children to support the healthy development of their brains. The environment the adults will display will be one that is secure, safe, and low stress levels. Less stress allows the brain to develop and thrive. The routines the adults will provide for the children will strengthen the connections in the brain.
The White House is quoted saying, “Learning begins at birth, and the earliest years of a child’s life are those most critical for building foundational cognitive skills, social and emotional skills, and patterns of engagement in school and learning.
Studies show that children who attend high-quality early learning programs – including high-quality child care – are more likely to do well in school, find good jobs, have fewer interactions with the justice system, and have greater earnings as adults than those who don’t.
Increasing the supply of high-quality, affordable child care can help parents balance work and family responsibilities while also investing in young children.”
From the FACT SHEET: Helping All Working Families with Young Children Afford Child Care