Friends Center for Children is an early childhood education center providing year-round, full-time care for children ages 3 months to 5 years. The Friends Center offers a child-centered, hands-on learning experience in a safe and nurturing environment. Read more.
The Blog @ Friends Center for Children
The word comfort is defined as “a state of physical ease and freedom for pain or constraint”, but the word can take on different meanings for everyone. For some, comfort can come from a hug or a good book, time alone to think, or listening to happy music. We can bundle our children in warm coats, scarves and gloves to keep them comfortable, but we also need to tune into their emotional needs as well during these winter months.
Understanding emotional behavior is the cornerstone of our philosophy at the Friends Center for Children in New Haven. Our beliefs and curriculum provide our students the emotional resources to rely on their relationships, interactions and their own feelings for comfort. We believe that teaching coping mechanisms to young children will only enhance their emotional development.
As teachers we know that the needs of each child differ, particularly in terms of babies and toddlers. Every adult faces the dilemma of interpreting the state of a crying baby and must infer the root of the problem through body language and clues from their environment. When children are old enough to voice what is bothering them, it is our job to ensure that they can articulate their feelings in a constructive and effective way. Establishing routines or rituals will help children to make comfortable transitions throughout their day. Encouraging creative or fantasy play is essential, as it is an avenue that children can comfortably navigate in their own way and feel in control by “speaking their own language”.
Too many children will enter school this Fall already behind. And, once behind, few catch up. Studies have shown that by third grade those children who started behind have vocabularies that are only 1/3 of their counterparts and they also have significant gaps in math and reading that continues with them throughout high school.
For children growing up in the United States, early childhood care and education have become an increasingly common experience. On average, preschool care develops young children's early academic skills through enriching activities and sometimes direct instruction*. Yet the type and quality of the care that children receive varies widely and so these school readiness gaps can even be seen across children who have attended some form of early childhood education.
Research indicates that preschoolers who attend high quality early childhood programs:
- Enter kindergarten with skills necessary for school success.
- Show greater understanding of verbal and numerical concepts.
- Are more socially competent.
- Show ability to stay with an activity longer.
- Are more likely to make typical progress through the primary grades.
- Are less often placed in special education classes.
- Are less likely to be retained in kindergarten.
Early childhood education reform is critical to the success of the kindergarten through 12th grade educational system, and is the surest way to guarantee academic success for our children.
Our vision for early childhood and school readiness is for early childhood programs to offer high quality, comprehensive and culturally appropriate services and support to both the child and the whole family.
The solution to building more high-quality early childhood education programs is for states and the federal government to invest in new high-quality early childhood education and for states and municipalities to better define quality early education and set standards. Our nation needs to better fund quality birth-to-5 programs and build an infrastructure to support early learning. Otherwise we will always be playing catch-up and we will struggle to fix the learning deficits of kids who arrive at kindergarten unprepared to succeed.
*Katherine A. Magnuson and Jane Waldfogel, "Early Childhood Care and Education: Effects on Ethnic and Racial Gaps in School Readiness," The Future of Children, 15 (2005): 169-196