Parents Helping Parents of Wyoming State Parenting Center

Samantha Crawford- PEN Parent Educator- Laramie

Samantha Crawford- PEN Parent Educator- Laramie

When I hear terms like “early learning” my mind automatically goes to pre-kindergarten programs such as Head Start.  While the research is clear about the importance of good, high-quality early childhood education to help prepare children for elementary school, it begins much sooner than age 3.  Children don’t necessarily enter kindergarten with a sudden readiness to learn—they are quite literally born to learn.  According to brain research, a child will learn more before they turn three than any other time in his or her life!  That is simply amazing.


Early on there are crucial “windows of opportunity” in a child’s growth and development when the brain is prepared to receive and learn certain kinds of information for a specific system such as vision, hearing, language, emotions and motor.  But the brain can be altered and sustain serious effects by negative experiences or the absence of appropriate stimulation. Parents and caregivers need to be aware of the need to build strong attachments and provide positive early experiences.  Support for early childhood educational programs is vital in these days of No Child Left Behind, but access to quality Infant and Toddler programs, including access to programs offering parent education and support,  is also an essential component for early learning.  Focusing on preschool alone is not enough. 



Comments on: "Did Someone Say Window of Opportunity?" (8)

  1. Blanca Moye said:

    children can learn through play in early age. Every parent shuld need to take adavantage of “windows of opportunities”.


  2. Kelly Rogers said:

    Parents sometimes get hung up on the pressure to getting their kids to learn. Luckily, the pressure is not as great as they think. Just being around their children, talking and interacting with them will allow for a substantial amount of learning to take place. As Michele said, learning through unstructured play is a wonderful avenue for kids. Find something your kids are interested in, then explore it. Interest preceeds learning! This is true no matter what age you are. So, don’t get too wrapped up in the questioning of what your are teaching your child, just be in the moment with them. They will learn more from your love, understanding, patience, and excitement than anyone can fathom! What are you waiting for? Go play with your kids!!! 🙂

  3. I can’t believe the astounding difference between my son and my daughter. I decided when I had my daughter that everything she needed to know for pre-school I could teach her and she could learn on the farm. We were maybe 4 miles from town, but we never went. We worked hard with the animals and in the fields, I carried her on my back and talked the whole time about what I was doing, and dogs and chickens….etc. However, she didn’t socially intereact with anyone her age. No one. She had NO friends. I didn’t think much about it, because neither did I, but what I forgot was I did have a younger sister. Abby walked and talked and did all that right on target, however, socially, she is delayed, even now, I think. I think she is quickly making up for lost time (teenager and all) now, but what a huge dis-service I did to my baby girl, the whole time I was thinking I was parenting better than everyone else, because MY kids didn’t go to daycare. Now Spencer could probably do one of these PIC workshops complete with Power Point presentations and handouts, like he was some kind of CEO. The difference is truly remarkable.

  4. Tammy said:

    Samantha, Great information. I agree that support for early childhood education programs is essential for the education of infants and toddlers, also that parent education and support is very beneficial for children and parents.

  5. Michele said:

    It is amazing what children learn early on even just through play. We have to take adavantage of those “windows of opportunities”.

  6. Samantha, thanks for those thoughts! To be able to share those moments with parents as learn about their child and the role of importance they play in developing the “windows of opportunity” is an honor.

  7. LiEnisa said:

    I can vouch for taking advantage of these “windows of oppotunity” being vital not only for typically developing infans but for those with special needs. In my area I am serving a family that has a 6 month old with Down’s Syndrome. She is currently meeting all of her developmental milestones in every domain and I believe it is a result of her dedicated parents and the amazing team of therapists provided by CRC. My role as Parent Educator is so much easier since this baby was set on a good track for learning as soon as possible. And now that mom and dad are even more aware of neuroscience research and windows of opportunity they are more encouraged that they can help their baby develop to her fullest potential! And we are a long way from preschool!

  8. Samantha, I couldn’t agree more! You are so lucky to be able to work with parents in the critical early stages of their kid’s lives. Some moms have little or no family support and PAT provides great help well before preschool or kindergarten.

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