Introduction — Each Child We Save Is A Child We Save
Three key years.
Too many people do not know that the first three years of life are the key and most important years when brains develop in our children.
Biologically, those are the years where we make the overwhelming majority of the neuron connections in our brains — and those are the years when each brain goes through the processes that will determine both the physical infrastructure of the brain and the key future capabilities of each brain.
Chapter One — The Facts Are Painfully Clear And The Opportunities Are Obvious
The functional reality for our early brain exercise impact is painfully clear. The best predictor for which children from all groups will end up in prison by age 18 is the number of words in each child’s vocabulary at kindergarten.
Chapter Two — The Biology Of The Brain
The heads of babies are disproportionately much larger than the rest of babies bodies — and that size difference make a clear statement about us and about what defines us, supports us, and keeps us alive from generation to generation. We are not the biggest or fastest or fiercest beings on the planet. We are, however, the smartest. We think to survive — and the better we think, the better our chances of survival tend to be.
Chapter Three — We Do Need To Save Each Child
Each child has his or her own life path and that path begins for each and every child with those first three years of life. Every single child who has a better and more reinforcing first three years is a child who has a much better chance of having a better life.
Chapter Four — Parents Are The First Teachers And The Primary Level Of Support, Protection, Safety, And Growth For Each Child
The first level of support that exists in the real world for almost every child is the child’s family — with the mother for each child usually in the direct center of the safety net and the immediate support reality for each child.
Chapter Five — Families And Communities Can Help As Well
We need the family for every child to support strengthening the brain of each child — and we absolutely need every community group — every racial, ethnic, cultural, religious, ideological, and community-centered group — to make building strong brains for the children in their group a major priority for the group.
Chapter Seven — We Need To Reduce The Number Of People We Send To Prison
We need to be a country where all children from all groups have a high opportunity for success. We need to be a country where each and every child is given the support that each and every child needs in those first key years of life to do well in school and to do well in other key aspects of their lives.
Chapter Eight — We Need Our Government And Our Community Leaders At All Levels To Support The Success Of All Children In Those Key First Years
We are at a point in the history of our country where we need the people who run our local, state, and national governments — and where we need the people who lead each of our communities — to understand clearly the key issues that are involved in early childhood development.
Chapter Ten — We Need The Internet, Arts, Sciences, And New Technology To Support Our Growth Agenda For Children
We live in a highly connected world. People text one another and engage in social networking communities with one another in very high numbers and high volumes every day. People use the Internet for research, learning, connections, and commerce in ways that expand almost daily.
Chapter Twelve — Science, Public Policy, And Functional Programs Are All Making Progress — And We Now Need To Accelerate The Pace And Expand The Process To Save Every Child
We are at the cusp of a golden age for research into the development and functioning of our children. Great research has been done and more is underway. Talented and dedicated researchers are learning more every day about how our brains develop and about how our interactions with the world around us in those first years of our life shape who we are and what we do in major ways for the rest of our lives.
Endnotes — Three Key Years
The endnotes listed below in this section were used in the book to simplify reference. Each has a small note included explaining some of the key and relevant points. The notes do not represent at any level, a synopsis of each cited piece — but basically provide a simple pointer explaining some of the key information elements from each reference piece that influenced the book.
Addendum One — Three Key Months Are Also Times of Great and Early Opportunity for Each Child
Both brain development and important emotional processes that are supported by the brain begin as soon as each baby is born. Those processes functionally begin immediately after birth.
There is no period of time when babies are not both affected and influenced by the world they have been born into. Direct experiences and the direct interactions that each child has with the world in the days and months immediately after each child is born can all have significant and relevant impact on both initial brain growth and on going emotional stability and security levels for each child.