A graphic shows a child at different ages. From left to right, there is a picture of a baby at Birth, then a picture of the same child at Age 1, and then a picture of the same child at Age 2. A dotted line flows across the graphic and shows high points and low points to indicate the rate of development of neural connections at different ages. The dotted line is highest between the baby at Birth and the child at Age 1 and is labeled “Rate of development is at its highest level” to indicate the months between Birth and Age 1. Text in the upper right says, “One million new neural connections form in the brain every second.”
Your child’s early learning experiences are critical
During the first few years of life, young children’s rate of development is at its highest level. These early years matter because neural connections are formed through a baby’s environment and experiences, especially interactions with adults. These are the connections that build brain architecture – the foundation upon which all later learning, behavior, and health depend. (Reference: Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child).
The early learning and care environment you choose can have a major impact on your child’s future. Quality early learning experiences build the foundation for skills your child needs in school, work, and life.
How to choose the best early learning and care setting
A graphic shows a picture of a mother holding an infant in her arms.
There are three thought bubbles above the mother’s head to show what types of child care setting she is thinking of for her child.
One thought bubble says, “Family Child Care Home.”
Another thought bubble says, “Child Care Center.”
The final thought bubble says, “Family, Friend, or Neighbor.”
Is it that family child care home in your neighborhood? How about your family, a friend, or a neighbor? Or a larger child care center near your work? How about the church-run program recommended by a friend? Or a preschool program at your neighborhood school?
Through the work of locally operated quality rating and improvement systems (QRISs) across the state, Quality Counts California offers early learning and care providers guidance and support for continuous quality improvement.
Quality Counts California is building a digital resource library to support your child care search in Collaboration in Common. This library will enable you to easily browse, download, and print resources that may be of interest to you, share your insights with other stakeholders, and learn from them what they’re up to. To download a resource, click on a file download link from this website, then you will see the PDF file in your browser to download or print.
Quality Counts California can help!
Quality Counts California helps families identify early learning and care providers who demonstrate a commitment to quality and provide quality early learning experiences to meet the diverse needs of California families.
Early childhood education matters: Merced County preschools earn top marks
Because of how the brain develops between zero and five, it’s like the window of opportunity. The sooner that you receive intervention, the better. We like to say in our program, when children attend preschool, we’re putting them on the road to success.