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I am a brand new grandmother and when I look into little Enzo’s cherub face, I see many possibilities. This year also marks my 40th year in education. Given all that I have experienced, I must pay it forward so I will not only make a difference for my grandchild, but also allow ALL children whose lives I touch through the Council’s Head Start program the chance to envision these same possibilities. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder and a new father, has pledged to give away millions of dollars for education in order to make the world better for his daughter. He gets it. We live in an interdependent world that requires us to be advocates for all children. Our children and grandchildren will interact with their peers, and it’s imperative to get involved so interactions will provide opportunities for continued growth. Although most of us don’t have millions of dollars to donate to ensure that this goal is met, there are three major ways that we as families, parents, caregivers or community members can nurture each child:

1. Read to children. The power of reading, talking and singing will build critical language and literacy skills that are essential for success.
2. Academics are important, but consistent guidance that supports the child’s social-emotional development is equally important.
3. Support high quality preschools and teach parents why quality care counts.

In just a few short months it will be time to watch our Head Start children as they leave for Kindergarten. This is one of our favorite days each year. As these young people head out into the world, they have a spring in their step and a twinkle in their eye. It’s our job as a community to nurture this and to show them what a wonderful world it can be. Remember to look and wave to children when you see them.

Please visit our website regularly for new posts on the many facets of early childhood education and check out our Parent Involvement link on the website. We will be adding and expanding parent resources in the coming months.

Dr. Thea Wilson is the Vice President of Children and Families for the Council for Economic Opportunities