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The Importance of Early Learning: Brains are Built, Not Born

Why Is Early Learning So Important? Because Brains Are Built, Not Born

There are hundreds of differing opinions and studies about the impact of formal prekindergarten education for young children. What is consistently concluded, however, is that young children absolutely benefit from receiving some type of education during their early developmental years – the higher the quality, the better.

Babies begin to learn about the world around them before they are even born! Children’s experiences – the bonds they form with their parents and their first learning experiences – profoundly impact their future physical, cognitive, emotional and social development. The major building of a child’s brain happens between birth and 3 years old. The connections, or wiring, that form for a child’s vision and hearing peak at four months.  Those for language peak at nine months and higher cognitive functions at a year.  A child’s experiences and environment determine which connections get used more and strengthened. Those used less fade.  A child’s interactions with the world determine how these connections are formed, providing a strong or weak foundation for all future health and learning.

Some parents may think, “I’m a parent, not a teacher.” The Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough County (ECLHC) believes that parents are a child’s first and most important teacher.  By the time a child is a year old, parents will spend about 8,700 hours with their child.  By the time a child is 5, a parent will have accumulated approximately 44,000 hours with their child. During this time, development and learning are continuously occurring for the child. The ELCHC not only provides education and supports to early learning professionals, but we also provide support, information and programs that help parents gain an understanding of their child’s early developmental years and the vital role that they play in ensuring that their child has the best foundation for future academic and life success.

Whether or not a parent chooses to place their child in an early learning program outside the home depends on the needs of the family and the child.  Parents should know that, as with school-age children and even adult learners, there is no one-size fits all instruction model or method best suited for all young children.  However, we do know that learning opportunities must be provided to children beginning at birth and if children are in programs outside of the home, those programs must provide high-quality learning opportunities to be most beneficial to children, families and our community.


Laura Byrne
Laura Byrne is an award-winning former television news journalist who spent 15+ years in newsrooms across the state of Florida including Sarasota, Tallahassee, Fort Myers and right here in Tampa Bay where she still freelances on occasion. She covered the political beat, crime beat and every day breaking news during her time in Florida newsrooms, but is now focused on sharing positive news stories and events with families in Tampa Bay. She is a proud mommy of two little boys who keep her on her toes and laughing every day. Her goal is to inspire families just like yours to get out and play and experience all that Tampa Bay and our great state of Florida have to offer! She encourages you to share your stories and upcoming events so we can spread the good news.

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