5 ways to give your child a headstart before kindergarten

Posted at 3:36 PM, Jul 21, 2021

RICHMOND, Va. -- The Basics Learning Network supports early learning and brain development for very young children. It’s something used in Chesterfield County and other Virginia school districts to start the building blocks of learning.

"Our Little Farm was up for renovation, so we very intentionally built the little farm components to align with The Basics," Children’s Museum of Richmond (CMoR) Director of Education Krista Dawson said.

The Basics of early learning are science-based parenting practices that can give kids a headstart before kindergarten.

"They're just five simple things you can do with children to build their brains," Meg Pienkowski of Smart Beginnings Greater Richmond said. “It starts the first day they're born."

The five things are:

  • Maximize love and manage stress
  • Talk, sing, and point
  • Count, group, and compare
  • Explore through movement and play
  • Discuss stories

The Basics was founded at Harvard University. It’s a program with the mission of bolstering brain development for social, emotional, and cognitive skills in very young kids.

Basically, it’s learning through play at CMoR.

"And the hope is (parents) go, 'Oh, if I can do that with this here, I can also do that with things that I have at home,'" Dawson said.

It can start with identifying colors or counting steps as kids climb.

"Eighty percent of brain development happens in the first three years of life," Pienkowski said. “Seventy percent in the first yea and 90% by the time they're age five. So, if you wait until a child enters kindergarten, it's not too late, but all the neurons have been formed. The building of the brain happens when they're young."

The Basics are the building blocks of learning… that are Building Better Minds.

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