Editor’s Note: This article was originally published by the United Way of Charlotte County and is written by Kim Amontree, Charlotte County School Board Member.
In “Brain Matters,” Director Carlota Nelson travels the world to interview scientists, psychologists, and other early childhood development experts to reveal the essential factors which go into helping young children thrive.
There were 84 parents, grandparents, caregivers, and friends that joined the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading for an official screening of the new documentary film Brain Matters, a buffet, and a panel discussion led by The Florida Center for Early Childhood in Punta Gorda on November 13, 2019.
It was held on the beautiful campus of the 1st United Methodist Church.
Beth Duda from The Patterson Foundation commented that The Brain Matters screening in Charlotte County had the audience totally engaged in learning about brain building in the first five years of life.
It was an inspiring evening spent with Cara Bush Reynolds, Katie Shaw Wallace, Geri Hallerman Waksler, Angie Matthiessen, Melissa Nelson, Lori Carr, Melissa White, Beth Duda, and many community members dedicated to the children of Charlotte County.
“Brain Matters” explores the importance of brain development in babies and young children. The movie was followed by a panel discussion with Drs Craig and Sharon Ramey. Three takeaways:
1. If you had ten babies with ear infections and ten antibiotic pills, would you give each baby only one pill when you knew they needed ten to be cured? No, because at the end of the ten days, you would still have ten sick babies. This is what we are doing with VPK. It is a wonderful program, but three hours a day starting at age four is not enough.
2. For every $1 you invest in early childhood, you receive a $5 return to your economy. Children who receive quality care will grow into adults who contribute to society rather than needing social services. Every developed economy has quality childcare. In a world where mothers must work, we must provide the quality childcare where those women can enter the workforce, knowing that their children are being cared for.
3. If a child does not receive all of the elements necessary for a healthy brain — quality care, nutrition, purposeful play, and intentional language — there is nothing educators can do to catch them up once they enter the school system at Kindergarten.
Charlotte County Public Schools is joining with the Florida Chamber, the Florida School Board Association, the Early Childhood Coalition, and Governor Ron DeSantis to call on legislators to invest in Early Childhood Education.”