Early Childhood Development and Child Care
Early Childhood Development
Brain development is far from complete at birth. The early childhood years are crucial to development because the brain’s structure is built and refined based on the child’s early experiences. Babies and young children need nurturing relationships, engaging experiences, and a safe and secure environment in order to develop a solid foundation for later learning and development. Adults who understand early childhood development are better prepared to provide sensitive, responsive care and positive experiences for young children. College of Family and Consumer Sciences Extension provides education and resources on early childhood development to parents, grandparents, child care providers, and others who care for young children.
Better Brains for Babies
Better Brains for Babies (BBB) is a collaboration of state and local, public and private organizations dedicated to promoting awareness and education about the importance of early brain development. Extension and Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning are co-leaders of the Better Brains for Babies initiative. College of Family and Consumer Sciences Extension provides regular training on early brain development to many different groups and individuals.
Baby’s First Year Calendar
The Baby’s First Year Calendar is a tool for parents to keep track of their baby’s important milestones during the first year. The calendar can be started on the day the baby is born, and includes stickers to mark the days when your baby does something new. At the top of each month’s page is information about baby’s development during that month. The calendar is available in English and Spanish.
Parenting Young Children
Caring for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers can be challenging. Extension agents in many counties provide parenting education programs to help parents deal with the specific issues and challenges of parenting young children. Contact your county agent for more information about parenting education programs in your county.
About 87% of children under six live in a family where at least one parent is employed full-time, and 33% live in a two-parent family with both parents working full-time. High-quality child care is essential for young children. Young children in high-quality child care programs learn valuable motor, language, cognitive, and social-emotional skills in child care that prepare them for school success, social relationships, and emotional well-being in elementary school and beyond. College of Family and Consumer Sciences Extension’s child care programs provide training and education for child care providers, as well as information for parents looking for high-quality child care.
Child Care Quality Matters!
Child Care Quality Matters! is an interactive resource for parents looking for child care. The site answers some key questions about high-quality child care, and includes an interactive guide to help you find the types of child care programs that best meet your family’s needs.
Child Care Provider Training
Extension agents in many Georgia counties provide state-accepted training classes to help child care providers receive continuing education hours required to meet state licensing requirements. Check our Extension child care training calendar for training events in your area, or contact your county agent for more information about upcoming training opportunities.
Child Care Self-Study Courses
Beginning child care providers who need basic training can sign up for one of three self-study courses in their local Extension office. Participants must complete a pre-test, view a video, complete readings and exercises in a workbook, and pass a post test in order to receive state-accepted credit. The courses include Keeping Children Safe and Well in a Child Care Center, Guiding Children Positively, and Child Development Zone. Contact your county agent for more information about self-study courses.
Teaching Basic Health and Safety in the Early Childhood Classroom
Teaching Basic Health and Safety in the Early Childhood Classroom is an integrated, hands-on curriculum and training program designed to teach simple health and safety messages to 3- to 5-year-olds in early childhood programs through age-appropriate activities. Many county Extension agents are prepared to teach child care providers how to use the curriculum materials with preschoolers. Contact your county agent for more information.
The curriculum includes the following units:
- Basic Safety
- Going to the Doctor
- My Healthy Body
- Terrific Teeth
- Eat Healthy, Be Active
Child Passenger Safety
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children and youth in the United States. Using an appropriate, properly installed child safety seat reduces the chance of injury by 71% for infants and by 54% for toddlers. Unfortunately, the majority of child safety seats are installed and used incorrectly. Extension provides child passenger safety education for parents, caregivers, and communities through the Georgia Traffic Injury Prevention Institute (GTIPI).
Child Passenger Safety Technician Training
This four-day training program, taught by GTIPI, provides participants with the knowledge and technical skill to become a child passenger safety resource person for their community, department or organization, and to perform individual safety seat checks. Participants must successfully pass both written and practical tests to complete the program and apply for national certification as a Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST). The GTIPI training calendar lists upcoming dates and locations for the four-day CPST training.
GTIPI can also assist CPSTs who may want to earn the CPST Instructor certification.
Riding Safely in Child Care
This two-hour training increases child care providers’ awareness of the need to transport children using current best practice recommendations. The training addresses the Georgia law, crash dynamics, types of seats, gross misuse, liability issues, and local resources. The GTIPI training calendar lists upcoming dates for Riding Safely in Child Care.
Safety Seat Checks
Certified child passenger safety technicians provide free child safety seat checks for parents and caregivers who want to learn how to install their child’s seat correctly. To locate a Child Passenger Safety Technician in your area, go to the Safe Kids Worldwide site or contact GTIPI for a list of fitting stations that provide regular seat checks.