By: Emmanuel Caulk
Fayette County Public Schools Superintendent
Did you know that 90% of a child’s brain is formed before the age of 5?
That means that before children ever enter kindergarten, they have already met their first and most important teacher right in their very own homes.
And that’s why the Fayette County Public Schools has partnered with the community to launch First 5 Lex, a campaign to help our littlest learners get the experiences they need for a lifetime of future success.
Learning begins the moment a child is born, and a growing body of research documents the importance of those first years.
Experts at the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University have found that early experiences determine the brain’s architecture, organizational development and functioning throughout life and have a direct impact on future learning, behavior, health, and social and emotional abilities.
Consider these numbers:
1 million: The number of new neural connections formed every second during the first three years of life.
5: The number of new words the average 2-year-old adds to his/her vocabulary each day.
437: The average number of questions a 4-year-old asks each day.
We know how important early childhood experiences can be because we’ve seen the tremendous growth demonstrated by students who attend preschool programs in the Fayette County Public Schools.
Last year, 100% of our 4-year-old preschool students increased skill levels in one or more of the six developmental areas assessed, including social-communication, social, cognitive, fine motor, gross motor and adaptive.
Nearly 70% made gains in all six areas and 94% grew in four or more areas.
Not surprisingly, all of our preschool classrooms have received five-star ratings from the state.
One of the most important ways to support the development of your children is to interact with them.
When you hold a baby and respond to the faces she makes, you are showing that child how to express herself and have a conversation.
When you respond to their cries you are teaching them that they will receive assistance when they ask for help.
When you hold a child in your lap and read a book, you are building literacy and vocabulary.
Under the umbrella of First 5 Lex, the Fayette County Public Schools has partnered with Kroger to provide fun activities for families to do as they shop.
We are placing “read to me” libraries filled with books in businesses and agencies frequented by families.
We also have launched an App to give families access to information about early learning and connect them to fun, stimulating, age-appropriate activities and experiences that will support their young child’s development and learning.
To learn more, please visit www.First5Lex.com.