These days we know more than ever about the importance of our children's early years and how they shape their learning and development.
Marshall County is home to a multitude of early childhood programs that focus on the needs of our young children, and is expanding those resources to serve even more children.
This week marks the celebration of the Week of the Young Child.
No doubt our society invests a lot of time and research into the best practices for educating our youth, caring for them and giving them the best possible opportunities.
In our local communities there are scores of child care providers and other early education professionals who dedicate themselves to our children.
These providers are building and nurturing our children in the most important ways during a critical time - the first five years of life. The importance of their daily interaction with our children is invaluable.
As we mark this week, we ask that you take time to make sure your child care provider, teachers or others who make a difference in the lives of our young children know they are appreciated.
Perhaps it's also a good time to review how you're supporting the development of your children. This week marks a good time to turn off the TV, put cell phones aside and focus on interacting with our children. Take a look at your routines and consider making adjustments that might benefit your young child.
Research has shown that high quality experiences prepare children to succeed both academically and socially as they move into school-age programs. To have a chance to develop these skills they need to participate in these early learning experiences. Not every community in Iowa has the standards and quality programming we might take for granted here in Marshall County. Take a moment and give thanks to a provider - because the early years are the learning years, and their dedication to that effort is exceptional.