This week, HISD celebrates the Week of the Young Child, which focuses awareness on the needs of young children (birth through age 8) and their families — and which recognizes the early childhood programs and services that meet those needs. In honor of the Young Child, here are a few things that you should know:
- During the first 3 years of life, the brain undergoes its most dramatic growth, and children acquire the ability to speak, learn, and reason.
- A young child’s ability to use language, as well as to pick up and understand the meaning of spoken and written words, is related to later achievement in reading, writing, and spelling.
- At 16-18 months, when children begin building vocabulary, word learning is significantly affected by economic background.
- By age 3, the way your child talks, including vocabulary, growth, and style of interaction, are well established.
- Gaps between children who have developed strong literacy skills and those who did not grow wider, rather than shrink, over the early elementary years.
- Children’s academic success at ages 9 and 10 is based on the amount of talk they hear from birth through age 3.
- Parents play a critical role in the development of a child’s early literacy skills.
Here are two important ways parents can work with HISD to help their child develop the skills they will need to achieve in reading and writing when they start school:
- Enroll your child in a Pre-K program. HISD offers pre-K programs across the district and has early childhood centers that can help your young child develop the skills they need for primary school. Visit www.houstonisd.org/Page/32100 to learn more.
- Enroll in the HIPPY program. You spend more time with your child than anyone else, and, whether you realize it or not, you ARE your child’s first teacher. The HIPPY program is offered in 49 HISD school communities and builds adults’ parenting skills to help 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds get an early start on reading, writing, and math. To see a list of schools served and find out more about the HIPPY program, visit www.houstonisd.org/Page/99154.