Dane County Parent Council is the parent organization which employs over hundreds of Early Childhood Professionals in the numerous programs. One of the most well-known programs is the Head Start Program which serves children age's three to five and the Early Head Start Program which serves children age's birth to three from low socio-economic backgrounds. The Early Head Start Program researches various strategies to promote language and social development in very young children. Brain growth is very rapid during the first few years of life and the EHS program understands the importance of strengthening the connections young children make with the world around them. I believe that additional research in experimenting with new strategies for promoting language and social development in young children will increase the recognition EHS receives for being a leader in Early Childhood Education. Three new ideas for research are incorporating American Sign Language with infants and toddlers, teaching a second language in the classroom, and the positive effects of employing and encouraging employment among male caregivers.
This recognition will benefit DCPC by raising its professional status and increasing government and state funding for all its programs.
Research the Use of Sign Language with Infants and Toddlers
Using American Sign Language with infants and toddlers is not a new concept. Research of the effects and benefits has been ongoing since about the 1980's. (1) There is much controversy in connection with the use of sign language in early childhood classrooms but researching the use and its effects will assist DCPC in determining whether or not it can be proven effective in its program. Marian Hyatt, an early childhood educator working in Ontario, Canada uses the analogy that just as crawling encourages children to walk; using sign language nudges them towards speaking. (2)
The organization can benefit...