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Why are a child's first five years of life so important?

This video from theounce.org takes a look into the lives of the many children we serve here in Garrett, Allegany, and Washington counties. Look at the video here by the First Five Years Fund. Let's work together to get our policy makers and elected officials to help us invest in our communities. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

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How children’s brains develop to make them right or left handed

As children grow older, they tend to favor one hand over the other for certain tasks, particularly for writing or drawing. A child’s “handedness” is generally categorized as right, left or mixed, and tends to settle around the same time they acquire language – about four-years-old. It remains a persistent characteristic throughout our life.

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Early Intervention (EI): Supporting infants and toddlers

At some point almost all early educators work with a child who receives or needs early intervention (EI) services. Early intervention consists of services and supports designed to help children who have a developmental delay or special need, and their families. Through collaboration with families and related service providers, supportive practices for infants and toddlers who receive EI services can be implemented within existing routines and across environments.

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Will you spoil your baby if you pick it up each time it cries?

New research points to cuddled children growing up to be healthier, less depressed, kinder, more empathetic, and more productive adults.

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How Childhood Trauma Affects Health Across a Lifetime

Childhood trauma isn’t something you just get over as you grow up. In this video, Pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris explains that the repeated stress of abuse, neglect and parents struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues has real, tangible effects on the development of the brain. This unfolds across a lifetime, to the point where those who’ve experienced high levels of trauma are at triple the risk for heart disease and lung cancer.

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Mental Health Begins in Early Childhood

Science tells us that the foundations of sound mental health are built early in life. Early experiences—including children’s relationships with parents, caregivers, relatives, teachers, and peers—interact with genes to shape the architecture of the developing brain. Disruptions in this developmental process can impair a child’s capacities for learning and relating to others, with lifelong implications.

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6 Ways to Support Preschooler's Social–Emotional Learning at Home and in School

High quality social-emotional learning (SEL) curricula have been shown to improve children’s social and emotional competencies significantly — and these are key contributors to kindergarten readiness. But implementing a curriculum is not the only way that preschool teachers and parents can support children’s SEL. Every adult who regularly interacts with your child has the opportunity to contribute to her SEL in a variety of ways.

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Exposure to Trauma has a profound impact on cognitive development and academic outcomes

Exposure to trauma has a profound impact on cognitive development and academic outcomes, and schools and teachers are woefully unprepared to contend with these realities. Children dealing with traumatic situations should not been seen as pathological, he argued. Instead, educators need to recognize the resilience they are showing already. The instruments and surveys that have been used to measure social-emotional skills such as persistence and grit have not taken into account these factors.

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How to Teach Children to Appropriately Gain Your Attention

It is difficult to have a conversation with someone if you do not have their attention-this is true for both children and adults. The ability to successfully capture someone’s attention is a fundamental social skill and provides the foundation for future success in social settings and relationships. Read more on how to effectively teach your children to gain your attention.

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Need help developing the brain of a toddler or infant? There's an app for that!

Know a parent who needs help developing the brain of an infant or toddler? There’s a free app for that. It’s called Vroom, and it’s the brainchild of a team of scientists working with the Bezos Family Foundation, founded by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Vroom is more than just a piece of software. The app is part of a larger Vroom effort to offer parents simple ideas to make better use of their time with their child.

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