Early childhood education programs provide formal and informal instruction to children who are under age 8. This category includes infant and toddler education, preschool and kindergarten courses. Child care services may also be included here, as are services designed to help young children with special needs. Early childhood education programs typically focus on learning through play, although a shift toward more serious academics has been taking place. Learning through play allows children to explore, encourages curiosity and improves cognitive development. Children also learn essential social skills by learning to share, cooperate and play with others. When you search for early childhood education programs on our map, you'll discover many different programs. Some will be child care services. Some will be Head Start locations. Some will be preschools, kindergartens or special organizations dedicated to helping young children learn specific things (such as library story times for kids or agencies that organize play groups).  

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