ABC's and 123's:

A Blog by Action for Children

Why We Can’t Wait


While I’m neither a parent nor an early childhood expert, I’ve had the privilege of providing temporary full-day care to eight children over the years, becoming a small part of their lives. Throughout my time as “Kistinana”, “Ate”, “Nana”, “Aya”, and now “Christiana”, I’ve witnessed the incredible capacity of young children to absorb information early on and the rapid-fire avalanche of early learning that occurs before they even reach kindergarten.

I can tell you that early learning is crucial because 90% of a child’s brain development happens before age 5 — but I can also tell you what it’s like to watch a toddler’s gears turning as they work on their problem solving skills or recount the number of times I’ve been amazed by the number of new words and phrases a child has picked up from one week to the next.

For each of these reasons and more, I can confidently say that children can’t wait – and neither can we.

Most of us would agree that having consistent, nurturing adults in a child’s life is invaluable for their social and emotional development. But, seeing firsthand how quickly a toddler will learn you’re a human they can trust when you provide consistent, intentional interaction and attention—even when half of their conversations don’t quite make sense—highlights the profound impact of such interactions.

Through the work I do at Action for Children, I’ve gained a deeper understanding of why child care is so expensive and why the fact that 56% of child care providers have raised tuition in the last 12 months matters significantly. Through the time I’ve spent supporting families with temporary child care, I’ve seen up close how difficult it can be for parents to find and afford child care while navigating the demands of building a career.

The need to build a strong foundation for our youngest children starts before they are even born – and our approach to doing so must be holistic. Children don’t exist in a vacuum. They are influenced, impacted, and shaped by the people and environments they are exposed to. To create strong foundations for young children, we must support the parents, caregivers, and teachers who have the greatest impact on their lives.

In a child’s earliest years, home-visiting and family support programs offer invaluable guidance and resources to birth, foster, and adoptive families as they prepare to welcome new children into their lives. These programs lay the groundwork for a strong foundation of positive early experiences, ensuring parents are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to nurture their child’s growth from the outset.

As children grow, ongoing parent education becomes increasingly important. Providing a wide spectrum of resources empowers parents to navigate the parenting journey while maintaining a supportive environment for their children. Parent education serves as a guiding light for families, especially those in nontraditional settings or navigating complex situations like divorce, separation, or co-parenting. This support not only benefits immediate family dynamics but creates a ripple effect that positively impacts a child’s later development.

Alongside what happens at home, ensuring families have access to high-quality, reliable child care is an integral component of building a strong early learning foundation. Without it, balancing work commitments while making sure your child is safe, cared for, and learning becomes extremely difficult. In light of this, helping families understand their options and select child care solutions that work best for their family is crucial. At the same time, recognizing the significance of child care professionals and supporting them in offering high-quality care contributes to a conducive environment for a child’s overall development.

And at the core of it all, building strong foundations for young children is a collective effort. It’s not just about individual families or child care providers navigating the journey of early childhood development; it’s about the entire community working together to help children thrive.

We need vibrant communities that understand the importance of early learning, come together to empower the parents, caregivers, and teachers, and advocate for solutions that support everyone involved in children’s growth and development. It’s only then that we can truly build the kind of strong foundations that children deserve.

Author: Christiana Sallard, Marketing & Communications Manager at Action for Children

Action for Children is the local child care resource and referral agency for central Ohio, and is committed to assuring quality early learning experiences for all children. Our services focus on transforming the lives of children by supporting the everyday heroes who most influence our children’s early growth; caregivers, educators, parents, and guardians. Learn More.

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