By the third grade, Texas students take standardized tests to monitor students who may be falling behind.
Some educators believe if a student begins to fail in certain subjects by the third grade, it can be hard to get them back on track, but educators with Child Inc. say the critical years for learning begin much earlier than that.
They say it's important to intervene, so students won't fail before they even begin.
"The parents are the first teacher of the child,” Judy Szilagyi, Program Operations Director of Child Inc., said. “They're so important to the development of their child."
The first three years of a child's life are critical in childhood development.
"Children coming from families with more challenging circumstances, often the children are a little delayed coming in to the school system," Szilagyi said.
Recent studies have shown that babies in poorer families often fall behind their peers before the age of one in ability to talk, understand, and learn.
Child Inc.'s mission is to reverse that trend.
"If we can effectively get parents to understand that and support them and understand they're the superstars and heroes in their children's lives, I think we'll see a dramatic shift in the behavior and social interaction in our children's world," A.J. Quinton, a parent engagement manager, said.
Child Inc.'s early childhood development program provides services to low-income families. They help teach parents how to help their children learn and prepare for school and provide eligibility-based schooling for children under three.
"Head Start is based upon all of those, providing those socialization and strengths to children, so when they go into the classroom, whether they come from a socio-economically challenged situation or not, they're in the same place as their peers," Szilagyi said.
The program gives children who come in behind the curve a chance to catch up or exceed expectations when they begin school.
"I feel like, as we educate each other, and our families, and our communities, that's what's going to change our community and society," Albert L. Black, Child Inc.’s executive director, said.
Child Inc. provides early childhood education for more than 2,000 preschool children every year, as well as support programs for parents.
To find out if you qualify visit ChildInc.org.