The Science of Childhood: Inside the Minds of Our Younger Selves is a Time magazine special edition. It examines everything from understanding child development and dealing with temper tantrums to the science of play and birth-order secrets. It’s part of an effort to help parents and other caregivers better understand how children learn – and what everyone can do to help children thrive.
Since 2015, the Early Childhood Coalition has been working to ensure that everyone in the greater Chattanooga area can access high-quality resources that support child development from birth to age 5. The plan is to engage and mobilize the community through advocacy, communication and education. The goal is for all children to achieve their potential and live their best lives.
For example, Chattanooga Basics is one of the Coalition’s initiatives. It’s built upon the reality that parents play the most critical role in providing a solid and healthy start for babies and young kids. Chattanooga Basics is closely aligned with Harvard’s Boston Basics.
The goals for the Basics are to help ensure that:
80 percent of children show up to school ready to learn.
Every parent has access to information about how to help their child thrive.
Every parent knows about the Chattanooga Basics and creative ways to engage their child.
Parents have the necessary support to be what their child needs.
The Five Basics can help all children to thrive.
While parents are their child’s first teachers, the entire community can rally around them and support them as they parent.
The Five Basics are:
Maximize Love, Manage Stress – Babies thrive when the world feels loving, safe and predictable. Affectionate and responsive caregiving develops a sense of security and self-control.
Talk, Sing Point – Babies learn language from the moment they are born through loving interactions with their caregivers, not televisions or phones. Eye contact, pointing, and real words teach the most about communication.
Count, Group, and Compare – Children are wired to learn numbers, patterns, sizes, shapes and comparisons. What they learn about math in the first few years makes a difference when they get to school.
Explore Through Movement and Play – Children are born curious about the world. They’re like scientists. Pay attention to your infant’s or toddler’s interests. Help them learn through play and exploration.
Read and Discuss Stories – The more we read with young children, the more we prepare them to enjoy reading and do well in school. Even infants enjoy the shapes and colors in books! Let them hold the book and turn the pages. Point to the pictures and talk about what you see.
You can help prepare the children in our community for kindergarten.
You may be part of a faith-based community, a child-care provider, a human resources executive or a company CEO. Or perhaps you are the neighbor next door or a relative or friend. It doesn’t matter who you are!
Everyone plays a role in intentionally engaging parents, assisting them in building strong, healthy families and helping children thrive and show up to school ready to learn.
To learn more about Chattanooga Basics, the Early Childhood Coalition partners and what you can do to help, visit chattanoogabasics.org.