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COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL and respectful, and you are genuinely interested in their well-being. You honor the children’s diversity by supporting their home languages and cultural backgrounds. (I discuss these practices in chapter 2 and in the closing thoughts at the end of the book.) You enjoy caring for children and provide uncountable moments of nurturing and developmentally appropriate learning experiences. Six principles are woven throughout this book: 1. Responsive caregiving is essential to children’s growth and development. 2. Trust is the cornerstone of healthy relationships. 3. Children need stable, secure early care and learning environments. 4. Children are ready and eager to learn. 5. Play is central to children’s learning. 6. Responsive caregivers collaborate with families to support children’s growth and development. As a professional, you have been entrusted with the care of vulnerable young children. You need knowledge of ECE, experience in caring for young children, a commitment to excellence, and ongoing professional development. You also need to know how to create and sustain environments in which children can grow across the developmental domains. Children grow best when they are loved, cared for, and valued as unique individuals. They need your whole-hearted love and commitment to help them reach their full potential. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL Introduction 3