Influences on Early Childhood

Head Start is a program that provides preschool services to families with children ranging in age from 3 to 5 who live below the poverty line, earning $16,700 annually for a family of four. Head Start provides a range of individual services in the areas of education and early childhood development, medical, dental, mental health, nutrition, and parent involvement.
The mission of Head Start was, and still is, to increase a child’s everyday effectiveness in dealing with his or her present environment and future school responsibilities. Every program follows the same guidelines, but changes and adapts their particular program regularly to best meet the needs of the families they serve.

Head Start was developed with the goal of helping low-income children become socially competent and aims for school readiness rather than academic accomplishments (Stanton, 1993). While this Head Start philosophy still holds true today, to achieve “social competence” it is necessary to constantly expose children to different things and new experiences. Knowing this, the teachers of Head Start make everything a lesson (Richards, 1997): Taking trips to the zoo, having fire drills, talking about neighborhood helpers such as doctors, police officers, and firefighters. Eating fruits and vegetables, enjoying holidays, learning how to live safely, checking the weather, brushing teeth and washing hands after meals, observing Black History Month, and always the alphabet, numbers, and shapes. The teachers of Head Start aim to make learning enjoyable.
Many low-income children of Head Start come from families with very little interaction between parent and child, which results in some level of language delay (Mills, 1998). To help compensate for the lack of communication in the home and to encourage class conversation, Head Start classroom walls are decorated with pictures of everyday objects and the shelves are brimming with books with a variety of educational themes. While these tactics may seem simple, they do provide enough stimulation to help the children in the program communicate better throughout the year (Mills, 1998).

Also, part of the Head Start curriculum is learning how to behave socially. For some children, especially those living in isolated areas, it is the first time they are outside the family environment and interacting with peers. The children are encouraged to discuss their feelings, develop self-confidence, and get along with other children (Mills, 1998). Because many of the children lack structure at mealtime, Head Start also serves the daily meal “family style.” The children are fed a nutritious breakfast or lunch while also learning to sit down and interact as a group at mealtime. Most importantly, the children are encouraged to treat each other with respect and a caring attitude (Stanton, 1993).

Along with the broad range of preschool services provided, Head Start also focuses on the complete physical and mental well being of each child. Upon enrollment, every child is given a physical, immunized, screened for developmental problems and checked by a dentist. Early detection of problems is extremely important to children of poverty. These children often receive little or no prenatal care, are linked to drug or alcohol abuse, lack health insurance, are not vaccinated, and have unsafe living conditions (Mills, 1998). Head Start also focuses on families’ access to medical care and tries to make sure they have a “medical home” to go to after they leave the program. Local physicians and dentists work with Head Start to provide medical treatment, even for the families with no insurance (Mills, 1998). Studies have shown that after being screened, twenty percent of the children in Head Start are found to have one of the following conditions: ear problems, speech and language development delays, asthma and gastrointestinal problems. Most often these problems can be treated successfully, but without early detection many children would have suffered unnecessarily (Mills, 1998).

A vital part of the Head Start experience is family involvement. The program was developed on the premise that it is possible to educate both the children and parents simultaneously. This can lead to an improved quality of life for the whole family (Stanton, 1993). All Head Start parents are urged to volunteer in the classroom whenever possible. Volunteering helps them become familiar with their child’s skills in the classroom and become advocates for their children. Many parents also need to be taught how to interact with their children. In many cases of teenage pregnancy, the mother herself is so young that she has no understanding of the needs of her young child (Mills, 1998). In a constant quest to involve parents, Head Start has come up with some sure-fire ways to get parents inside the school: serve food or have the children perform. All this effort is not without good cause. Studies have shown that when parents become involved in education, their child is more likely to become confident and succeed academically and socially (USDHHS, 1992).

While involving parents is critical to Head Start, it is also important to focus on the involvement of male role models. More than half of the children participating in the Head Start program are being raised by single mothers or have little or no contact with their biological fathers (Mills, 1998). Head Start sponsors fishing trips, baseball games, and fathering classes to help improve the relationship between the men and their children. According to Mike Richards (1997),
“We have to teach some men that their kids need more than just financial support. It is vital that they be involved with their children early onâÂ?¦they can’t wait until the child is older to form a relationship, at that point it is too late.”
Since many of the children do not have contact with their biological father, Head Start holds a Father’s Day picnic, welcoming an uncle, older brother, grandfather, neighbor or male role model. The children undoubtedly benefit from these events and many of the men respond positively after some encouragement and guidance (Marusoe, 1999).

Head Start tries to educate the whole family, not just the child. Educating parents helps give them more control over their situation, which can then help the family break out of poverty (Simmons, 2002). Head Start teaches English to immigrant parents, helps with job placement, provides medical information and services, holds parenting classes, and even has a training program for parents wishing to work as aides in the classroom (Richard, 1997).

Training parents to work as aides helps both the school and the family. The trainees (almost always mothers) work for six weeks as aides in the classroom and are then certified to work as substitutes and eventually as assistant teachers. Head Start believes parents are their children’s primary educators, making it vitally important to develop their skills and find satisfying employment (Mills, 1998). The school gains skilled aids and parents become motivated to improve their quality of life. To date, approximately 2,000 parents have been trained to work in the classroom (Mills, 1998).

Head Start is not just a preschool program; it is an opportunity for impoverished children to have a fighting chance at a healthy life. Head Start students learn the alphabet and numbers, but they are also prepared for elementary school in ways that many low-income children are not. Head Start takes a holistic approach to child development. Health screenings are as important as ABC’s and parental involvement. After almost four decades, the mission of Head Start is still the same: they strive to prepare low-income children for a solid academic future while encouraging their whole family to break the cycle of poverty and improve their life.

Children are precious and lovable. However, part of their growing and learning involves testing the limits of their parents. They need firm limits set, and it is the parents’ duty to set those limits using discipline (Saadeh, 2002). Discipline comes from the word disciplinaire, meaning to teach or instruct. It prepares children to achieve self-control, competence, self-direction, and caring for others (Saadeh, 2002).

The use of corporal punishment is one of the most controversial parenting practices to this day (Andero, 2002). Most pediatricians, physicians, and parents believe that spanking is sometimes necessary (Straus, 1999). Spanking is only one type of corporal punishment. Spanking refers to “striking a child with an open hand on the buttocks or extremities with the intention of modifying behavior without causing physical injury (Saadeh, 2002). An average of eighty percent of parents occasionally spanks their children. It is the most commonly used disciplinary method to reduce undesirable behavior (Saadeh, 2002). Pediatricians and some family physicians approve of spanking if the child misbehaves (Anderson, 1996).

Parents see spanking as a “corrective measure and only use it when it is considered to be an effective and suitable means of discipline or when other measures used to promote good conduct have been tried and failed to produce positive results” (Andero, 2002). Psychologists, pediatricians, and many well-educated parents spank (Anderson, 1996). Spanking also has foundations in religion also (Sims, 1995), and Protestant parents can justify spanking through the Bible. The Bible states, “The blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil” (Block, 2000). Spanking will produce an immediate decrease in the child’s behavior (Saadeh, 2002). It has no short or long-term consequences and is not associated with violence or abuse later in life (Saadeh, 2002). There are proper techniques and guidelines for spanking for those who are in support of it. Spanking should only be used on children aged two through six and never on children under eighteen months, as to decrease risk of injury (Saadeh, 2002). It should be limited to no more than two strikes on the buttocks or extremities, never the face. Parents, not baby-sitters, should be the only ones to spank their child (Saadeh, 2002).

Not all parents believe in spanking their children. They view spanking as “the use of physical force with the intention of causing a child to experience pain, but not injury, for the purpose of correction or control of the child’s behavior” (Sims, 1995). Any physical harm suffered at the hands of another person constitutes battery, punishable by civil liability and criminal penalties. This law applies to every citizen with the exception of children. They are the only people to be regularly subjected to physical punishment (Andero, 2002). This punishment can cause aggressive behavior, reduced self-esteem, depression, violence, and physical abuse of children (Socolar, 1995). End Physical Punishment of Children, or EPOCH, has vowed to protect America’s children by declaring April 30 Spank Out Day – USA (Block, 2000).

Whether or not the parent decides to spank their child or not, discipline must be consistent and done in a loving relationship to be effective (Saadeh, 2002). The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends some form of discipline for children (Socolar, 1995). Pediatricians regularly give disciplinary advice. Nevertheless, it is ultimately up to the parents whether to use the “rod of correction” or to “abandon the rod and save the child” (Block, 2000).

Yet another area that we are going to look at is that of children in school. There has been some research that suggests that teachers’ expectations of children have a strong influence on a child’s performance in school. Those who are expected by the teacher to do well in school usually do. On the other hand, those children whom the teacher expects to do poorly usually do worse in school. We will be taking a closer look at the relationship between children’s school performance and the high verses low expectations placed on them by teachers.

One of the well-known pieces of research in this area is the Oak School Experiment conducted by Rosenthal and Jacobson. Their hypothesis was that the children whom teachers expected to do well in school (experimental group) would show greater gain in intellectual competence than the other children (control group) (Rosenthal, 1968).

At the beginning of the school year, several teachers were given a sheet that listed somewhere between one to nine different children’s names. The teachers were told that the children on the list were those who had scored in the top 20 percent on the “Harvard Test of Inflected Acquisition.” The teachers were told the reason they were given the list was to make them aware of who in their classes was about to bloom. The teachers were also told not to discuss the findings of the “Harvard Test of Inflected Acquisition” with either the students or their parents. The names of the children who appeared on the list given to the teachers were actually determined randomly using a table of random numbers. The only difference that truly existed between the children whose names appeared on the list and those children whose names did not appear was all in the teachers’ heads (Rosenthal, 1968).

During the year that the experiment took place, the children in the control group gained over 8 IQ points, while the children in the experimental condition gained over 12 IQ points. The researchers discovered that the children in the lower grades, first and second grade in particular, showed the greatest intellectual gain. The children in these two grades who were in the control group gained 4.5 verbal IQ points and the children in the experimental group gained 14.5 points on their verbal IQ. The results of the experiment show that the children in the experimental condition experienced a greater intellectual gain. This was especially true for the younger children. The difference in gained verbal IQ points between the two groups clearly shows that teachers’ high expectations influence a child’s learning (Rosenthal, 1968).

David Trouilland and colleagues conducted a study very similar to the one done by Rosenthal and Jacobson. They explored the relationship between teacher expectations and student achievement in physical education classes. The participants were seven teachers and 173 children. The researchers hypothesized that student achievement would confirm teacher expectations because these expectations can create self-fulfilling prophecies, create perceptual biases, or accurately predict student achievement. Data analysis showed that teacher expectations have a weak self-fulfilling effect, strongly predict student achievement, and have no biasing effect on teacher judgments. Once again, the expectations of a teacher have a clear influence on student achievement (Trouilloud, 2002).

Cooper and Moore were intrigued by the research of Rosenthal and Jacobson and decided to expand on their ideas by conducting some similar research. Cooper and Moore were interested in determining if teachers’ expectations differed for children of a different gender, racial group, teenage motherhood (girls who had a child of their own versus girls that did not), and home life (two-parent versus mother-only families). We will be taking a closer look at the first of their two studies (Cooper, 1995).

The subjects in the experiment were 30 teachers (23 females and seven males). The average number of years of teaching experience for all the teachers was 4.93. Of the 30 teachers, 20 taught in elementary schools and the remaining 10 taught at the middle, junior, or high school level (Cooper, 1995).

Each one of the subjects was given a packet that contained 12 record cards for 11th grade students. The record cards were the same as the ones used by the school district, but the students described on the cards were fictitious. In each packet the cards were presented in a different order, which was randomly determined (Cooper, 1995).

Of the 12 cards that were presented, four resulted from the crossing of boys differing in racial group (White or Black) and parental structure (two-parent or mother-only family). The other eight cards were the result of crossing girls differing on racial group, parental structure and whether or not the girl had a child of her own or not. The researchers chose a picture to be presented with each card. The pictures were taken from the waist up and they were chosen on the basis of how neutral they were in regard to facial expression and dress (Cooper, 1995).

Analysis of the data shows that teachers held higher expectations for girls than for boys. Children from two-parent families were thought to be more likely to finish high school and more likely to attend college. They also found that White children of either gender were believed to be more likely to go to college. Finally teachers believed that those girls who had babies would receive lower grades and they would be less likely to complete high school (Cooper, 1995).

Arabsolghar and Elkins examined to what extent teachers in different grade levels hold expectations for their students’ reading abilities. The study looked at children in grades 3, 5, and 7. Forty-five teachers were given a questionnaire asking them to make judgments about whether or not students of high, average, and low ability levels would be likely to show skills on reading components like strategy, knowledge, and behavior (Arabsolghar, 2001).

The results of the study show that there is indeed a significant interaction between the child’s ability and component. The teachers had the highest expectations for high ability students. Teachers held equivalent beliefs about all three reading components for the high ability students, but they held unequivalent beliefs for students in the average and low ability groups. For the average and low ability groups, the teachers had higher expectations for the knowledge component than for the strategy and behavior components. There was no significant difference of these findings between the three grades tested (Arabsolghar, 2001).

Van Matre and her colleagues were aware that teacher expectations influence a child’s academic achievement. They were interested in looking at how the sex of a student, the family socioeconomic status (SES) of the student, and the students’ after- school activities affect the formation of teachers’ academic expectations. The researchers had 98 teachers and student teachers make judgments about 12 of the 24 fictitious student descriptions they had created (Van Matre, 2000).

Results of the study showed that teachers expected female and middle SES students to get higher grades, graduate, and attend college more so than male and low SES students. The results also showed that students who participated in extracurricular activities were expected to have greater academic achievement then other students (Van Matre, 2000).

Sanders and colleagues examined teacher expectations from yet another angle. They explored the relationship between how students perceive teacher-student relationships and how this relates to their academic achievement. The authors explored the degree to which teacher-student relations (measured as teacher expectations and teacher supportiveness during grades 10 and 12) influence 12th grade students’ academic achievement, using data from the National Educational Longitudinal Survey of 1988 (Sanders, 2000).

In looking at the data, the authors found consistent evidence that teacher-student relationships have both a positive and meaningful influence on students’ academic achievement. Academic achievement was measured by looking at a students’ educational investments, school conduct, classroom preparation, avoidance of maladaptive behaviors, standardized test scores, and grade point average (Sanders, 2000).

As you can clearly see, children are strongly influenced by the expectations that teachers hold for them. The expectations are influenced by a number of different factors including appearance, SES, family life (one versus two-parent families), and after school activities, to name a few.

The American family is changing and divorce is one contributing factor. The United States has the highest divorce rate in the world, with approximately 48% of all marriages ending in divorce. One third of all children in this country are affected by divorce (Thompson and Brown, 1999). This year, half of all children born in wedlock will see their parents divorce before reaching their eighteenth birthday (Fagan, 2000). The research into the effects of divorce has been studied over time, and recent findings indicate there are more negative impacts than previously thought (Minimizing Effects of Divorce on Kids, 1996).
The effects of divorce on children vary with the age of the child. Little is known about the effects of divorce on children younger than three years old because they are too young to really understand what is going on. Preschool children, ages three through five, often believe that they are the cause of the divorce and they are going to be abandoned or left alone. Some psychologists believe that the adjustment to divorce is most difficult for an elementary school child since they are old enough to understand what divorce is and understand the pain from it. Teenagers are also affected by feelings of loneliness, depression, and guilt (Temke, 2002).

Research has shown there is a major impact in the child’s performance in school after a divorce. Children are twice as likely to repeat a grade in school and five times more likely to be expelled or suspended from school. Shortly after the divorce, the children are less imaginative, more repetitive, and also become passive watchers. Children from divorced families have a tendency to be more dependent, demanding, unaffectionate, and disobedient than the children from intact families. The children from a divorced family are also more afraid of abandonment, loss of love, and bodily harm. The children will carry all of these feelings with them to school (Divorce in the Classroom, 2002).

The children from divorced families are more likely to have academic problems than the children from non-divorced families. A person can look at the children’s grades, standardized test scores, or dropout rates to see that the children’s scores from the divorced family will be lower. In some cases, the child’s difficulty in school may be caused more by their behavior than their intellect. There is also a behavior difference seen between boys and girls of divorced families. Boys are more likely to be aggressive and have problems getting along with peers and teachers. This could lead them to spend less time in school or on their homework. Girls are more likely to experience depression, which may prevent them from being able to concentrate on their schoolwork (Patten, 1999).

Along with academic problems children from divorced families can experience emotional problems as well. Children from divorced families are more likely to have low self-esteem and feel depressed. Children who grow up in divorced families often have a greater difficulty getting along with siblings, peers, and even their parents. Also in adolescence, the child is more likely to engage in delinquent activities, to get involved in early sexual activity, and to experiment with illegal drugs. Children of divorced families are also more likely to take their own lives (Hughes, 1996). Although many children face these hardships, one third of students do fairly well after the initial crisis of divorce. They regain their self-esteem, their academic performance improves, personal growth continues, and they form healthy peer relationships (Thompson and Brown, 1999).

The effects of divorce also vary according to the child’s gender. Researchers are now finding that children raised with the same sex parent do better than if they were raised by the parent of the opposite sex. School aged boys living with their fathers seem to be less aggressive and also have fewer emotional problems than boys living with their mothers. It is also important for a son to have a father around as a model. Girls living with their mothers tend to be more responsible and mature than girls raised by their fathers but studies have shown that girls who are not raised with love and support of their fathers have a much higher teen pregnancy rate due to a lack of fatherly love and attention (Temke, 2002).

Elementary school is a very important place for children to develop self-esteem. School is where most children make friends, interact with adults, and have their first experiences with success and failure.

Most people fail to realize how important self-esteem is to the development of children. Self-esteem is critical to a child’s life and the direction that his or her life will take (Wright, 1999). Self-esteem in children sometimes refers to the extent to which children expect to be accepted and valued by the adults and peers who are important to them (Katz, 1995). Webster’s Dictionary defines self-esteem as the confidence or satisfaction one has with oneself (Wright, 1999). No matter how self-esteem is defined, an individual’s level of self-esteem affects their personal development as well as their development of significant relationships with others. Self-esteem is related to feelings of belonging in a group (Katz, 1995). Our self-confidence usually depends on our successes in school, along with the degree to which one gets along with their family and their peers. Self-esteem is found to peak in childhood and fall during adolescence (Huggins, 2001).

Children with high self-esteem usually feel a sense of ownership and responsibility in their lives. The child believes that he or she actively controls what happens to them through their actions and behavior (Gordon, 2002). When a child has a high sense of self-esteem, he or she generally feels loved and accepted by adults such as parents, teachers, and grandparents (Katz, 1995). The child feels that these adults will do anything to ensure the child’s safety. Usually a child with a high sense of self-esteem will make friends easily. Making friends effortlessly may be a reflection of the child’s cooperation skills and ability to follow age-appropriate rules, which can also be found in confident children. Most confident children have a good amount of self-control; however, they are also happy, energetic, and talkative (Nutall, 1991). Children with high self-esteem not only differ from unconfident children in their observable behavior, but they also differ in their thinking patterns.

Many times, a child with low self-esteem is heard making negative remarks about their own capabilities. “I can’t do anything well”, “I can’t do it”, and “I wish I were someone else” are all examples of some things that a child who does not feel good about themselves will say (Nutall, 1991).

There are certain behaviors that are exhibited by parents and other important adults that can contribute to a child’s low self-esteem. Expecting too much or too little from children is very harmful to personal self-esteem. Behaviors such as yelling, criticizing, and name-calling can also greatly affect a young person’s self-confidence. Being over protective of a child debilitates the child’s self-esteem because doing everything for a child could make them think that they cannot do anything for themselves. On the other hand, being neglectful toward children makes them think they are not good enough to be cared for. Therefore, it is in a child’s best interest to let him or her know that there will always be someone there to help them, but a parent or any other caretaker must give their children the freedom to grow and make their own decisions as well (Nutall, 1991).

It is more important for parents to learn how to build confidence in young individuals. First and foremost, it is important that your child feels lovable. Parents’ facial and body expressions are important ways that a parent can communicate to a child that he or she is loved (“Developing,” 2002). The Family and Consumer Sciences department at Ohio State University suggests that an individual fosters self-esteem in their children by keeping expectations realistic and not comparing children with siblings or peers. Children should also be allowed to make mistakes so that they may learn problem-solving skills. It is, however, important to continue to encourage a child and recognize the effort they put into different tasks. A young person’s self-confidence can also be built when the child is given sincere affection and there is an interest shown in the child’s life (Nutall, 1991).

Parents should not assume that a child with low self-esteem is simply “going through a phase”. Low self-esteem can follow a child throughout adolescence and adulthood. The lack of confidence could have debilitating effects on an individual.
Television has long been blamed as the culprit of aggressive behavior in children, but new studies are finding that TV is having even more effect on young children. A correlation between the length of TV viewing and symptoms of eating disorders is being discovered in studies. Eating disorders are most prevalent in teenage girls, but now children in early elementary school are showing signs of developing disorders.

First grade children are now reporting concerns on the way they look, body weight and shape, and camp counselors report children as young as six studying nutrition labels as they eat their lunches (Natenshon, 2002). One six year old girl reports, “I don’t like being fat and stuffâÂ?¦people just don’t like people when they’re fat” (Sacker, 2001). Another girl, five years old, started eating paper when the boys in her class were calling her fat because she believed paper would fill her up and she would not have to eat meals (Sacker, 2001). Several doctors told her mother that it was only a stage and she would grow out of it.
An overwhelming eighty percent of girls in grades three through five view their bodies negatively, reported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (Natenshon, 2002). Eighty-one percent of children by the time they reach age 10 have dieted (Schram, 2001).

Several factors play into the development of these children and their body image. Susan Willard, director of the Eating Disorders Treatment Center at River Oaks Hospital in New Orleans says, “The majority of the young children we see or hear about who are concerned about their weight, interested in dieting or who have already developed distorted body image, have mothers who are preoccupied with their own bodies” (Sacker, 2001). Children not only hear their mother’s concern over their weight, but also overhear fathers making negative comments about heavier women on TV.

Many television shows portray thin women as being ideal. Merryl Bear, program coordinator for the Eating Disorder Information Centre in Toronto says that girls are rewarded for the way they look and boys are rewarded for what they do. She believes this is portrayed on TV (Schram, 2001). Overweight sitcom characters were the object of more jokes, fewer compliments, and were associated with more negative traits than the thinner female characters (Harrison, 2000). Children often model characters on TV and when there are no positively portrayed regular weight characters to model, children believe that being super thin is met with the most social rewards (Harrison, 2000).

Kristen Harrison studied the correlation between television viewing and fat stereotyping, body image and eating disorder symptomatology in 303 first through third graders. Harrison reported that television viewing positively predicted the tendencies for boys to stereotype a female classmate as fat, yet not a male classmate as fat. Boys and girls alike were more likely to assign negative characteristics to overweight bodies. Also, when asked to choose an ideal body figure from several silhouettes, girls tended to choose a slimmer figure than they chose to represent their actual self (Harrison, 2000).
Harrison also found that children, especially boys, learn from the media to denigrate obeseness before they believe being thin is ideal. Studies show that very young children are exposed to dieting ideas and behaviors on TV and this changes their cognitions and behaviors regarding eating (Harrison, 2000).

One such example of changing eating behaviors is the increase of eating disorders found in Fiji when TV was first introduced. Fijians naturally preferred larger body shapes for both men and women ( Anne Becker (1999), Director of Research at the Harvard Eating Disorders Center, studied and surveyed Fijian girls thirty-eight months after TV came to Nadroga, Fiji. Seventy-four percent of the girls reported feeling, “too big or fat” ( One girl in the study says, “We can see [teenagers] on TVâÂ?¦They are the same ages, but they are working, they are slim and very tall, and they are cute, niceâÂ?¦We want our bodies to become like thatâÂ?¦so we try to lose a lot of weight” (
What is the solution to this epidemic? Part of it lies in the way culture, and especially media, portrays images of men and women. Another part of it lies in the way we treat people who are overweight (Sacker, 2001).

Many believe we need to do something more. Psychotherapist Kathy J. Kater (2000), with the help of John Rohwer and Michael P. Levine, have developed a curriculum for elementary school children to change the beliefs of the kids and to minimize the effects of what they are learning about body image through media. Many teachers questioned the need for this new health class until one teacher overheard a fourth grade student saying that she felt fat (Kater, 2000). The class teaches kids about the biology of what can and cannot be controlled regarding body build, eating healthy, staying active and choosing realistic role models (Kater, 2000).

After implementing the class, teachers reported the kids’ enthusiasm toward health class and saw a dramatic change in the way the children talked and treated children who were overweight. One child stated, “I learned to feel good about who I am and not worry about what I look like” (Kater, 2000).

Teachers’ expectations, self-esteem, divorce, television and punishment all influence our children. There are many other things that influence children during their earliest years. It is important that they have positve role models to look up to and are treated with love and care while they develop.

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