Right From the Start NJ: The Critical Years Birth to Three
Birth to three years old is a critical time during brain development. This panel examines what exactly happens to a child’s brain during this time, what quality early education looks like, and reviews the rate of disparity of childcare costs and the need for increased financial support from the state.
Guests include: Matthew Melmed, Executive Director, ZERO TO THREE
Jennifer Santana, President, Coalition of Infant/Toddler Educators & Early Head Start Manager
Joseph Della Fave, Executive Director, Ironbound Community Corporation
Cecilia Zalkind, President & CEO, Advocated for Children of New Jersey
"Welcome to Caucus. I'm Steve Adubato. So what actually happens from birth three? And why does it matter so much? Joining us here in our studio to discuss these critical years, we're pleased to be joined by, Matthew Melmed, who is Executive Director of ZERO TO THREE, Cecilia Zalkind, who is President and CEO, of Advocates for Children of New Jersey, Jennifer Santana, President of the Coalition of Infant/Toddler Educators, Joe Della Fave, is Executive Director of the Ironbound Community Corporation. I want to thank you all for being a part of our series, Right from the Start NJ, that looks at a whole range of issues. Cel, let me ask you, and by the way, you're going to see a website throughout this program, the objective is to get you to go to that site, get more information, to become more aware. Why does this matter so much? Zero to three? Birth to three? Why does it matter so much? So we know so much more now about how children develop, how they learn, how they get prepared for success in school and in life, and actually, learning begins at birth, and some would argue during pregnancy. Right. Those are critical years for brain development, for how a child develops, learns, builds relationships, it's a critical time for the child's future. Matthew we had an opportunity to speak one on one with you about this, so reiterate for folks who may have missed that. The brain development piece of this. Sure. The... what we know from the neuroscience, and increasingly from epigenetics, is that the early experiences and relationships that babies and toddlers have with the important adults in their lives literally shape the architecture of their brain. There are a million synapses that are being connected every second in a baby's brain. Fastest that we'll ever see. Babies are capable of learning every language on earth. They are really a lot smarter than we ever thought. And we also understand that if they do not have healthy and supportive relationships, that that actually creates a very weak foundation upon which their development occurs. It's like a house. If you have a weak foundation, you can make repairs later on, but it's going to cost you a lot more money, and at a big price. So let's talk about this. There are so many pieces to this..."