Kids stuff: Fostering curiosity

Millad Nooraei

Editor’s note: The following Q&A is part of Xpress‘ annual Kids Issues. 

Millad Nooraei, YWCA director of early childhood education, discusses his organization’s history, the challenges it faces and ways parents can be involved in their child’s development.

What are some of your program’s key focus areas when it comes to early childhood education?

The YWCA’s Early Learning Program is part of a 116-year-old organization whose mission is to eliminate racism, empower women and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. The program prioritizes quality care and education, partnerships with other equity-minded organizations and a focus on building a trauma-informed community of care. We use an anti-bias curriculum, and the staff is trained in racial justice, bystander intervention and deescalation.

What advice would you offer new parents as it relates to your field? 

There are few things as valuable for young children’s learning as fostering curiosity and love of learning. This can happen organically in the home with a nurturing environment that sets aside quality time for playing and reading and that includes children in everyday tasks. If caretakers make learning fun and engaging, they can help lay the foundation for lifelong learning.

What’s the greatest challenge your organization faces as it relates to the work you provide to area youths? 

The biggest challenge facing the Early Learning Program and other child care providers in the U.S. is instability caused by a lack of public investment. Providers face a labor shortage, rising costs, growing demand and funding cuts. In Asheville, the high cost of living and housing make it hard to attract and retain early childhood educators, leaving providers unable to meet the needs of the community without more funding.


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.