The holiday season is underway: Many Memphis families recently finished celebrating Hanukkah, others are getting ready for Christmas in less than a month, and still others anticipate Kwanzaa shortly thereafter. At this time of year, we are often asked: “What is the most important thing for parents and families with babies and toddlers to remember during these special times?”
We often hear about the achievement gap—the distinct academic disparities that exist between groups of students, primarily between middle-class students and students from lower-income families. Decades of research confirm that a combination of in-school and at-home factors contribute to these differences.
There is nothing quite like Halloween for young children. There are of course the costumes and the candy, the jack-o-lanterns and trick and treating. But it’s one of the celebrations that shape attitudes – either positive or negative – toward family, neighbors, and environment which are crucial in the cognitive and social development of our youngest children.
While most mothers experience some symptoms during the first weeks after giving birth, postpartum depression affects mothers for much longer. The effects on their children can be much longer.
If there is anything that is obvious to all of us as adults, it is that our home environment was a major factor that shaped who we are and that defined our own expectations and goals for ourselves. That’s certainly true in the real-life experiences of the two five-year-olds — Tiffany and Briana — who have been the recent focus of these Perceptions columns.
Children hear and absorb almost everything and it shapes the way they view and interact with the world for years to come. Tiffany and Briana, the five-year-old stars of our continuing series, prove it every day. Although they live in vastly different parts of Memphis, they listen closely when the adults talk about serious issues, problems, and their hopes for the future.