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Optimizing Brain Development Reflection

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The early years are a window of opportunity for parents, caregivers, and communities: positive early experiences have a huge effect on children’s chances for achievement, success, and happiness. —Urban Child Institute (2015)

Imagine the following scenario:

You have accepted a position as executive director for your state’s child care resource and referral system. As part of defining your new role, you have decided to conduct a survey to see what key issues exist within your state’s early childhood education system related to service quality, access, and implementation, and how you, as a leader and advocate, can address these issues.

The results of your survey indicate that many of the resource and referral agencies within your state are struggling with issues related to funding and a perceived lack of professionalism. Individual agencies, for example, have had a challenging time convincing policy makers that the first years of life are critical in terms of development and learning and are essential periods of time requiring high-quality care and education. As well, agencies have had challenges with the image of professionals in the field, with many early childhood professionals expressing that others view them as “babysitters” despite their extensive training and education.

After taking the time to think about effective connecting points for addressing these issues, you decide that a common education point—one that would benefit both policy makers and consumers in terms of their perceptions of the field of early childhood in general, and child development in particular—is the importance of brain development in the early years.

To prepare:

Reflect on what you have learned about the significance of brain development in children’s early years, and the vital roles that families and professionals play in optimizing brain development. Also, consider information on developing and disseminating effective advocacy messages. Review the Learning Resources for an overview of current research on brain development.

An explanation of how you will share information on brain development with early childhood stakeholders to support their understanding of the critical importance of brain development on healthy development and learning. Your explanation should include the following:

· A research-based advocacy message that you feel is essential for stakeholders to hear

· What role (if any) you believe early childhood professionals have as advocates related to current brain research and brain development, and how this role can best be enacted

· Your goals and plans for dissemination of brain development information

· Potential obstacles and misinformation as well as levers that you feel might inhibit or benefit your ability to disseminate information regarding brain development

Cite appropriate references in APA format to substantiate your thinking.

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