Guest Post By: Laura Wilhelm, EdD
Teaching our youngest children is thrilling and exhausting. Recent studies underscore the value of high-quality early education for all of society. Yet, we forget to appreciate this important and challenging work, and those who make a daily difference in babies’ lives. Start the New Year off right: give a smile, a hug, and maybe your lunch to a teacher of children under three! Also, share these expert opinions on their worth:
“Fundamental to young children’s healthy development, and crucial to the development of their thinking, are the parts adults play in their lives and in their all-round growth and development.”
–Nutbrown & Page
“Much of what infants need is not the planning of specific lessons but a wise adult who can create a rich setting for learning... Research has shown us that much of what needs to happen with infants is not specific lessons but the preparation of their caregivers to capitalize on natural learning opportunities”.
-J. Ronald Lally
“The more healthy relationships a child has, the more likely he will be to recover from trauma and thrive. Relationships are the agents of change and the most powerful therapy is human love.”
-Bruce D. Perry
“If nature has commanded that of all the animals, infancy shall last longest in human beings--it is because nature knows how many rivers there are to cross and paths to retrace. Nature provides time for mistakes to be corrected (by both children and adults), for prejudices to overcome, and for children to catch their breath and restore their image of themselves, peers, parents, teachers, and the world.”
“…to teach details is to bring confusion; to establish the relationship between things is to bring knowledge”
– Maria Montessori
“The early nurturance of very young children and the importance of consistent high-quality attachment between caregiver and child are in themselves recognized as the vital components in optimal brain development; a part of every child’s birthright and pivotal features in carefully crafted loving, educational and socio-emotional experience from birth.
–Gammage (Working with Babies and Children from Birth to Three)
Happy New Year!
Laura Wilhelm, EdD, is an assistant professor of Early Childhood Education in the department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Central Oklahoma. Over the past twenty five years, Laura has taught Pre-K, Kindergarten, First and Third Grade in urban and suburban schools, directed a laboratory school, and taught graduate and undergraduate courses for teachers, administrators and childcare providers at the University of Central Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, Missouri State University, Northwestern Oklahoma State University, Northern Oklahoma College, and the University of Oklahoma.