A child’s world is an environment built around relationships — relationships that provide them with the resilience they need to handle challenges and the experiences they need to grow in all areas of development.
While we know that parents are children’s first and best teachers, we also know that up to 60 percent of children’s waking hours are spent with early childhood educators— those of you working with infants, toddlers, and preschoolers in a variety of settings every day.
You go by many titles but are collectively providing a support network for families and children and building a strong foundation for our future workforce through the caring relationships you nurture every day. From all of us on the LENA team, we want you to know that we see you!
We see you washing paint off little fingers for the tenth time today. We see you using silly voices to make shared reading fun, even though you’ve read that same book every day this week. We see you having powerful interactions with children throughout the day, even though you might be sitting in tiny chairs or on the floor. We see you devote your personal time to learning new strategies to support young children. And we know you put your heart into your work with children and families despite the many challenges you face.
We know you may not always hear how important you are, so let us remind you of some of the reasons your work is so valuable:
- The birth through preschool years are a period of rapid brain growth, with around one million neural connections made per second. The experiences you provide during this time have maximum impact for building the brain architecture required for future success.
- The high-quality care you provide now is known to increase positive life outcomes in health, education, and income.
- The warm and caring interactions you provide young children help them to develop resilience and protect them from negative effects of adversity.
- You provide the most important service and support system for working families every day by creating a safe and nurturing environment for those that are most important to them — their young children!
So before you sit down in the block center to engage in conversations about what your group is building, and before you join in the next song or dance during circle time, we hope you’ll take a moment to pause and see the work your do through the eyes of those of us that know your value. Children, families, and communities across the country depend on you — we couldn’t do it without you!