HOUSTON – The Episcopal Health Foundation funds early childhood brain development for kids ages 0-3.
According to EHF, early childhood brain development programs are the most preventive health measure we can take.
Dr. Quianta Moore created the Brian Builders Parenting Class.
“The first year of life, the brain is forming new connections 1,000,000/ second, so the parents’ ability, the caregiver’s ability to interact with their kids, to stimulate those neural connections. It really matters,” Dr. Moore said.
She says children most at risk for being unprepared for school and life skills were from low-income areas, not because parenting classes weren’t available, but because they weren’t structured in a helpful way.
“I felt it was really important that we respected those moms and that we taught them the brain science. We taught them in a way that was easy to understand, we taught it in a way that made it digestible and applicable for them. That was a really important component of our program and we found that when we looked at other parenting programs they didn’t do that. They told parents what to do but not why they should do it,” Dr. Moore said. “We explained that the brain was constantly shaping, forming these connections and so that moms then knew and felt equipped, right? They felt equipped with the ‘why’ they felt equipped to make decisions on behalf of their child.”
Moore said doing tasks simple tasks: singing, reading, talking and playing with babies builds neural pathways that help them become good readers, analytical and thoughtful later in life.
Jo Carcedo, Vice President for Grants with the Episcopal Health Foundation said they invested in research long ago to find out how to make the biggest impact on community health and when they found the Brain Builders Parenting Class, they knew targeting early childhood is key.
“We’re able to take the research that we’ve done and distribute it on a much broader basis so that we can also have sort of a public awareness and education aspect to this work as well because what we believe is that the more people that know about this and understand the simplicity and the importance of how you actually impact a child’s brain development, then we are all better served by having that knowledge out there,” Carcedo said.
Mom Cho Chan completed the six week course and claims she and her daughter are happier and healthier for having been taught how to interact.
“To know that I’m not alone and you know Chloe, my instructor, was there to cheer me on, to show me compassion and kind of empower me in this parenting journey,” Chan said. “Hazel has a happier mom and healthier mom.”
The program is free and available online. Brain Builders Parenting Class (brain-builders.org)