When you start life as an at-home parent your infant, silence is inevitable and expected. Sure, there's crying and cooing, but unless you're caring for other kids at the talking age, you have no one to actually converse with when at home.
What does it mean for your child to "count with understanding"? It means that he or she knows that the word one refers to a single object of any kind, the word two refers to two objects and so on. Here's where you come in, as parents and caregivers.
Cities, some would argue, are the world's greatest inventions, bringing productivity and opportunity to billions. But for many, cities are a hellhole of poverty and violence offering no visible way out.
Acknowledging the myriad ways in which school districts can undermine curiosity and academic exploration by over-stressing test scores and technical training, one can emphasize the importance of structured explorations that can expand a child's imagination.
Once young babies discover their fingers, parents are often thrilled to see their children learn to control those little fingers to grasp, pinch or fist. Child development experts call this process of learning to use the small muscles of the hands and fingers fine motor development.
First and foremost, why jump straight to banning? Handheld devices are the "Swiss Army Knife" of modern life: a safety device to keep in contact with family and friends, a camera for documenting the world, a window to connect with grandparents across miles.
Overall, I am extremely encouraged that the state winners understand the importance of informing, engaging and supporting families in their early learning efforts, so parents can partner with schools to help their children learn and achieve.
From my experience with both grades, I know firsthand that the kids who have been in Pre-K are better prepared for Kindergarten. They know what it's like to be in a classroom. They have a head start on reading and math. And they just generally find school easier to navigate.
It's not just the coaches. Sometimes parents misbehave too. Yelling from the sidelines to "trip him" or "kick his ass" as their youngsters are on the field. Not cool. Especially when kids are so young.
If our children are the future leaders of tomorrow, perhaps we need to consider the strong link between reading and creativity and why they are so important for building critical thinking and leadership skills.
Every child can succeed regardless of their race, ethnicity or socioeconomic background. The cycle of poverty in which many American families live is breakable; low-income families need to be viewed as assets, not barriers, to their children's success.
Proposals to expand Early Head Start make sense. Will they become a reality? It all comes down to that first lesson: that every baby matters. The next few months will demonstrate how well we adults remember that.