Tuesday, March 2, 2010


I've been yelling about this for years:
Parent education could change the world!
Maybe you've heard me.

In my humble opinion, most of the world's most difficult problems could eventually be solved if ALL children were raised in environments that nurtured all aspects of their development.  Well-nurtured children grow up to be productive, contributing adults. They're ready to be people who solve problems, create new ideas, and change the world through whatever work their gifts, passions, and interests lead them toward.

However, most children will not have the optimum environment for growing if their parents do not have support, education, encouragement, and help along the way.  I will tell you from my own experiences as a mom: good parenting is learned, not innate.  Most of us do not come into parenting already having the natural instincts to get it all "right."  As an educator, I've found that good parents are those who make a deliberate effort to learn about their children's development, and then try use that knowledge every day in real life with their children.

Another "annie-ism" you may have heard from me:
The first three years are the most important stage of life.  
Infancy and toddlerhood lay the foundation for everything else!

More and more scientific research is being done all the time that confirms both of my convictions.  The most current brain research continues to prove that the earliest experiences create neural pathways which will be used throughout life, and that PARENTS are the most important people to provide the right experiences.

Last week, I heard a great audio story on one of my favorite NPR programs, This American Life. It talked about a program called Baby College, which is a parent education program for parents in impoverished neighborhoods in New York.  Baby College is part of a very successful comprehensive program that works with families from pregnancy through adolescence to help break the cycles of poverty.  An emphasis is placed on "a culture of success." Parents are taught ways to help their children succeed at all stages of childhood and to plan for college and a career.

Check out the Baby College program:

This American Life Episode 364: Going Big.  Act One. Harlem Renaissance:

I observe it every day:  the power of good parenting.
I'm not saying perfect parenting.  Good is good enough and effort counts.
But in order to be good parents, everyone needs help, support, and information.

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