The purpose of early learning intervention is to minimize children’s chances of being behind in their educational potential as they enter preschool or elementary school. Each child is unique, and every child can learn. I look beyond a child’s disability or label, and get to know them as a person.
By observing children, I have a great ability to discover what interests each one has and get ideas about what might motivate them. Talking and playing with children provides important opportunities for building trusting relationships. I set learning goals, choose strategies, and assess children’s progress. Just as I do for all children, I have high—but realistic—expectations for children with disabilities or developmental delays.
According to the NECTAC, decades of research have shown that children’s earliest experiences play a critical role in brain development. They share Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child’s research summary, making the case for intervening early:
- Neural circuits create the foundation for learning, behavior, and health. They are most flexible or “plastic” during the first three years of life and then become increasingly difficult to change.
- Positive early experiences—especially in the form of stable relationships with caring and responsive adults, safe and supportive environments, and nutrition—strengthen the brain.
- Cognitive and language skills develop upon a foundation of early social and emotional development and physical health.
- High-quality early intervention services positively alter a child’s developmental trajectory and improve outcomes for children, families, and communities.
- Intervention is more likely to be effective and less costly when it is provided earlier in life.
Even if your children do not have developmental disabilities or delays, you should enhance their early learning and development because early learning programs engage and prepare young children for future success.