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'Building Blocks' will focus on young children's lives: Our View

Interview series will focus on how to raise great kids.

Jun. 6, 2014
 
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A 4-year-old kindergarten student works on an activity at the A.C. Kiefer Educational Center. / Daily Herald Media file photo

Building Blocks schedule

Every Friday morning through mid-August, Daily Herald Media will post a new video in our “Building Blocks” series of short, practical early childhood-focused interviews. Find the first video in the series, an interview with Kelly Borchardt of Childcaring Inc. on how parents can find quality day care, online with this story.
Here’s the full schedule for the rest of the series:
June 13: Language development and early literacy
June 20: 39 Weeks campaign and prenatal health
June 27: Reading with kids
July 4: (Independence Day; no new episode.)
July 11: Family-friendly businesses and best practices
July 18: Developmental screenings and “What Every Child Needs”
July 25: Start Right services
Aug. 1: Parenting resources
Aug. 8: Public policies that support young children
Aug. 15: Series wrap-up and what you can do
Watch the series online at wausaudailyherald.com.

Subject:
Supporting children.
Interview series will focus on how to raise great kids.

We need your help

We want “Building Blocks” to be useful for the community, and we need your help to make that happen. Help us by sharing the videos on social media or emailing links to your friends and family members. And we want to hear your feedback. What questions do you have? What do you hope to learn from future episodes?
Email rmentzer@wdhmedia.com to share your thoughts. Let’s help build “Building Blocks,” and help the community’s youngest children thrive.

More

Here is our dream, and it’s one we share with a group of committed community leaders: We want Marathon County and central Wisconsin to be national leaders in early childhood. We want our community to be one of the very best places to raise young children — and our reputation to reflect that.

These have been among the goals of the Early Years Coalition, online at www.raisegreatkids.org, a consortium of local public, private and nonprofit agencies that work on providing a healthy, supportive environment for children.

Members of Early Years Coalition work to provide prenatal support and education. They offer education programs and support for new mothers and young parents. They offer crisis support to troubled families. They help connect parents to quality child care, and work with child care providers to improve the quality of their care. They help teach young children their first lessons in everything from speaking and reading to resolving conflicts, overcoming obstacles, following directions. And they coordinate the curriculum our children encounter when they enter four-year-old kindergarten.

Here’s the point: This community is filled with professionals whose job is to make sure our youngest kids get the start they need to have a happy, successful life.

And it is no exaggeration to say that the first four years of a child’s life will determine much of what comes after. The earliest years of brain development shape all of us for the rest of their lives.

Children who are behind in basic skills when they start kindergarten can struggle to catch up with their peers a decade or more in the future, according to scientific studies. Long-term studies have found that children who received Head Start services, the early education program targeted to at-risk youth, were more likely to graduate from high school and less likely to be involved with crime.

All this has to do with brain development. From even before birth, a baby begins forming the neural connections that shape the way she sees the world. And the first years of life, when those patterns are just forming, is when children learn not just their ABCs but also things like how to relate to the people around them, how to cope with frustrations and keep trying to complete a task, how to learn and who to trust.

Children, young people and even adults can change the habits and patterns they learned when they were very young. But it’s hard. There is no time like 0 to 4.

'Better kids, stronger community'

“What happens to children right now,” in the early years, “impacts the rest of their lives,” said Kelly Borchardt of Childcaring Inc., an agency that provides child care referrals to central Wisconsin parents and works with providers to help them meet improvement goals.

Daily Herald Media interviewed Borchardt for the first episode of what will be a 10-part video series focused on early childhood issues. We’re calling it “Building Blocks” and we will post a new episode every Friday morning. (We’re including a schedule of topics we’ll be taking on.)

We’ll hear from a range of experts in the field, with a focus on practical information: What you need to know to help connect your kids or grandkids, or nieces or any child you care about, with the support and information you need to help them succeed. The videos are short and we hope they will help to bring even more community focus to early childhood issues — and help to spread the word. Our community cares about its kids. Together, we can help them get the start they need.

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