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The Science of Early Childhood Education

Author: Rhian Allvin

For more than 20 years, neuroscience has confirmed what parents, grandparents and early childhood educators have suspected for a long time. The first five years of life are the most profound period of brain development in the human lifespan. In these years infants, toddlers and preschoolers develop the synaptic connections and foundations for learning and development. This includes their language, cognitive, social, emotional and physical attributes. In fact, a child’s brain at age five is 90% the size of an adult brain.

To make the most of this extraordinary time of development, children need to have experiences rich in conversation, curiosity, nurturing and learning. Environments such as these will set the stage for strong language and conversational skills, impulse control, the early stages of math and reading development, and early exposure to the scientific wonders of life on our planet.

Sadly, the science of early learning does not match the choices families have for high-quality child care. Nor are child care professionals adequately compensated.

Close to 70% of families across the United States enroll their children in child care. The majority of children ages birth to five are spending part or all of the day in child care. Despite the high demand and the strong evidence that warrants high-quality child care, only 7% of children are in programs accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). And close to half of early childhood educators earn wages low enough to qualify for public assistance. Only 15% of early childhood educators have employer-sponsored health insurance. This has to change.

After spending close to three decades in early childhood education policy and advocacy, I decided that it was time to try to influence the quality of early childhood education from a different direction–by opening early childhood education programs that are high-quality, in communities with diverse ethnic, racial and socioeconomic families, and where early childhood educators are treated like the professionals they are. In 2022 I stepped down from serving as CEO at NAEYC to launch Brynmor Early Education & Preschool (Brynmor). I am motivated by the belief that we know too much to have young children in low-quality programs. If we are really going to deliver on the promise of early childhood education, early childhood educators must have the opportunity to work for employers who will value their professional expertise and trust them as the primary partners to families.

When I decided to launch Brynmor, I searched for the ideal location in Fairfax County. I am thrilled to have found Lorton and specifically Liberty Market. According to county population data, there are more than a 1,000 children within 10 minutes of Liberty Market who need care but don’t have access. The historic buildings at Liberty Market offer beautiful space, ample light and great outdoor settings for children to realize their full potential. We will serve children six weeks through age five in full-day, full-year care.

Once we are licensed, we will enroll in the Virginia Child Care Subsidy program and the Child Care Aware of America Military Assistance program–which will help families offset the high costs of care. We also have a local partner who is offering substantial scholarships for families whose total household income is between $69,000-$120,000 per year. We are a Virginia Values Veterans-certified organization and are looking to hire highly qualified early childhood educators.

We expect construction to be done by September 5th and we will open our doors to children and their families on October 1st. We are so grateful to have been welcomed into the Lorton community. We have met many wonderful partners through the South County Chamber of Commerce! Lorton clearly knows the value of high-quality early childhood education. We look forward to serving you.

If you are seeking additional information about enrollment and/or employment, check out our website at or call us at 570.347.1100.

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