Welcome to “IPS and YOU”.  This will be a regular column in the Islesboro Island News and the Preschool Press describing the importance of a positive Early Learning Environment and why it’s important to YOU, regardless who you are!

Early Learning, age birth to 5 is the most important time in the development of a human being. Starting in the first minutes of life up to about age five, a child’s brain begins developing as many as 1000 neural connections every second.    This brain development is the foundation on which all learning and personal development takes place throughout a person’s life.  At the same time, physical development is also in high gear.  As every parent knows, a new born has mastered 4 skills—eating, pooping, crying, and when you are lucky, sleeping. Just think about the changes that take place in a well-developed five year old–she skips, broad jumps, dresses herself, understands basic arithmetic concepts, talks clearly using adult speech sounds, has mastered basic grammar, relates to a story and knows over 2,000 words!  But how well that development goes is enhanced or diminished by the child’s environment.  Children exposed to a safe, nurturing and highly interactive environment have a better chance of developing to their fullest potential, leading to success in formal school and life beyond.  Future columns will focus on this process and what all of us can do to help our children thrive.

Let me end with the “You” in the title of this column.  Every one of us on Islesboro, not just parents, has a stake in the future of our children and we all have a role to play in their development.  The residents of Islesboro have shown they understand this by voting to provide financial support to the Islesboro Pre School.  Many among us have also provided generous gifts to help construct our new Pre School building.  Islanders realize this is an investment in the future with direct benefits to all of us.  For example, as taxpayers we save money when children go through formal school requiring less extra assistance, particularly when courses or grades are not repeated.  A quality day care/pre-school system makes it much more likely young people will chose to stay or move here to raise a family.  This too benefits us all as it increases the tax base at minimal extra cost.  While some island children will choose to leave when they are adults, others will stay and become what we hope will be enlightened island leaders in the future.  And of course, some will return after seeking fame and fortune off-island.

The Islesboro Pre School (IPS) is dedicated to helping all island children develop to their fullest potential.  Working with parents and the community at large, we intend to make a difference in the lives of our children and support the vitality of the island.  To learn more about IPS please explore this website and blog or “like” us on Facebook.