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City of Knoxville, Tennessee
Madeline Rogero, Mayor

For Immediate Release
KCHD Takes Parenting Classes to a New Level
February 2, 2010 - Mothers and Mommy’s To Be: Did you know your baby recognizes your voice from inside the womb? And anyone who’s ever said that picking up a crying baby will spoil him doesn’t know that critical emotional development takes place between birth and 18 months – and a nurturing environment encourages emotional stability.

Yes, Mom, you can positively impact your baby’s capacity to learn. That’s why Knox County Health Department (KCHD) is now offering Start Smart, a free program for expectant parents and parents of children up to 6 months old, on the first Wednesday of the month from 11:15 a.m. until noon. The first session is Feb. 3 in the KCHD Community Room at 140 Dameron Avenue.

Start Smart gets beyond all the myths and old wives’ tales about raising children to share factual data on how important the first weeks and months are for baby’s brain development. Participants will receive information and resources, including a gift bag, about “building better brains.” Brain development, including vision, speech, emotional development, foreign language, math and music, will be discussed. Emphasis will be given on how to engage a child’s brain through play, reading and speech. The sessions are interactive and questions are encouraged.

The type of care a child receives is directly related to brain development. Parents and other caregivers can help nurture positive brain development by reading and talking to their babies. Parents who respond sensitively to their baby’s cries are building the emotional connections that lead to healthier relationships in the future.

KCHD also offer these important facts about human brain development between birth and six years of age:
  • A baby is born with more than 100 billion brain cells, but much of the wiring does not happen until after birth
  • Eighty-five percent of a child’s brain development takes place during the first three years of life with the majority in the first year.
  • Research shows that the number of words a baby hears and the tone in which they are spoken affects a child’s ability to think conceptually by the age of four.
  • From the moment a baby is born, every experience taken in by the five senses helps build the connections that guide brain development.

    The Knox County Health Department is committed to promoting public health practices that safeguard and improve quality of life for all residents. The Health Department offers an array of services ranging from medical and dental care, disease control, emergency preparedness, air quality management, environmental services, food preparation oversight in public places, special programs for women with children and much more. For more information on the Knox County Health Department, visit their Web site at www.knoxcounty.org/health/index.php.
  • For Immediate Release
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