by Governor Eddie Calvo
My fellow Guamanians,
If we truly want to keep Guam good, if we really want to ensure success in the future, we must invest in early childhood education. It's been proven: the most critical years in the development of a child are the early childhood years. This generally means birth to third grade. Babies and young children are sponges who soak up the world around them. It's our chance to give them the emotional, nutritional, and educational skills they need to keep them happy, healthy, and successful.
There are so many things that make parenting challenging. Not everything is as black and white as we remember it to be. There's a new world of technology and influences. We're becoming more aware of developmental disabilities and behavioral disorders. We're coming to terms with intervention strategies, and even with accepting and coping with diversity. Parents are working more. Many children grow up with only one parent. On the other side of the spectrum are the children being neglected or abused. They won't know love until they meet their first caring teacher five years after they were born.
I'm proud this administration is making early childhood education a priority, and making it a priority to help families and children who find it hard to get this education. We support programs like Head Start. We've supported CEDDERS and early intervention for infants and toddlers with disabilities, or at risk for disabilities. Recently my Education Task Force drafted recommendations for education reform. One of the biggest recommendations is to place the best and brightest teachers in the K through third grade classrooms. I look forward to DOE embracing this recommendation and acting on it.
My wife Christine also understands and appreciates these programs. On top of looking out for Guam's most needy children through her Rigalu Foundation, is also the co chairwoman of the Early Learning Council. This past weekend she joined pioneers throughout the island as they listen to experts at the Early Childhood Conference.
My fellow Guamanians, I encourage all public and private schools, and all young families, to embrace early childhood education as key to a progressive and sustainable society. When my first child Eddie was born, I remember looking down at him, and knew in my heart I loved him more than life itself. That day, I made him a promise that I would take care of him: give him a roof over his head to keep him safe, healthy meals to make him strong, and an education to make him smart.
As parents, grandparents, godparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, and friends, we also share this love with all the children in our lives. This commitment to a complete and fulfilling childhood is the best gift we can give our children. It's also the best gift we can give ourselves: the precious gift of knowing our island will be even better than we left it, and the priceless gift of these children growing into better adults than we are.
Thank you, and God bless our children.