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Watch These Cute Videos of Babies (and Learn Something, Too)

Instagram video via mandvandheyd.

Gayle Julian, an education professor at Olympic College in Washington State, begins many of her classes with what she calls “A Minute With Dan,” in which her students watch and discuss the concepts in some of Mr. Wuori’s videos.

His posts, she said, help prospective teachers, many of whom are young adults without their own children, viscerally understand the difficulties that can come from being raised without consistent, positive interactions with adults at home.

“What we’re learning about is early childhood trauma and stress and anxiety,” Ms. Julian said. “It’s important to know what is in the child’s development before they arrive in, say, high school English class.”

Mr. Wuori said he sees his cheerleader side gig as perfectly in line with his mission as a consultant, working with state legislators and governors to improve and expand child care and preschool programs. Across the country, there are too few affordable options, driven by low pay in the field and lack of public investment, which makes the United States an outlier among developed nations.

If the public better understood what a big difference a well-trained early childhood educator can make, Mr. Wuori said, perhaps politicians would feel more pressure to invest in the field, instead of seeing child care centers as little more than “custodial care” while parents are at work, staffed by workers getting paid, oftentimes, little more than minimum wage.

That will be the message in a new book he will publish this fall, called “The Daycare Myth.”

“There’s this false distinction between care and learning,” he said. But given the association between early-childhood enrichment and later success in school, work and relationships, Mr. Wuori said, child care centers are “the most important learning environments in all of humanity — with the notable exception of the home.”

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