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Blog: Early Childhood Education Is Important

Let our elected officials know that this kind of reform is vital. Let’s start early—for all children. This is where our investment needs to begin.

 

It is no mystery that early childhood education is important. 

Research supports it. Economics supports it. Parents support it.

Yet until President Obama’s call to make high-quality preschool available to every child in America, other less data-driven reform agendas have dominated the airwaves.

It is time to change that conversation--because early childhood education is critical to the success of our children.

Why?

Because early childhood education is about lowering drop-out rates, about more children going to college, and fewer children winding up in prison. It's about providing needed skills for employment and about growing our economy.

According to Linda Darling-Hammond, professor of education at Stanford, high quality pre-school programs -- the kind that have teachers with degrees in early childhood education and small class sizes and hands-on learning and parent outreach and education -- provide those kinds of results.

Yet, during this Great Recession, funding for our youngest students has been cut.

California’s independent legislative analyst reports that “since 2008-09, the State’s childcare and development system has experienced notable reductions.

  • Overall funding has decreased by $985 million (31 percent).
  • About one-quarter of slots have been eliminated (110,000 slots).”

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson welcomes the call for making early learning a national priority.

“We know that there are significant benefits to helping children start school excited and ready to learn—and that those benefits last the rest of their lives," says Torlakson.

What can we do to help our children?

Let our elected officials know that this kind of reform is vital.

Let’s start early—for all children. This is where our investment needs to begin.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jeremy Churchill September 17, 2013 at 05:39 AM
Early Childhood education is the root foundation of every child's learning. The reason it needs of the parents to choose the best preschools for their kids. I choose Cremedelacreme.com
Sara Emma September 20, 2013 at 12:38 PM
It seems that the focus of discussion has gotten off track. In the early years of development, when a child's brain is forming, there is an improved chance for that child to reach his/her full potential socially, cognitively, physically and even academically when provided with a high quality, stimulating early learning environment. Young families all need affordable access to early childhood programs. I doubt anyone can dispute this. The majority of young families need two working parents, not just for added luxuries and fancy cars, but for basics like food, rent and health care. Even if one parent staying home were an option, that may still not provide an ideal learning environment. I support funding programs for our neediest children, but let's not forget the moderate income parents just struggling to get by. I support offering early childhood education to every child.
Sara Emma September 24, 2013 at 05:13 PM
In saying that I support early childhood education for every child I am not advocating for our youngest to be put in classrooms learning their ABCs. I saw a refreshing video on urbanpreschool.com in their Pass it On section by the Opal School Children on Play and Learning. It is a powerful video on the value of creative play to stimulate curiosity and enjoyment that will make young children eager to explore their world and look forward to being able to learn for years to come.
Sara Emma October 12, 2013 at 02:00 PM
Since the federal shutdown, Head Start programs across the country are being forced to shut their doors. Here in CT our governor has allocated $800,000 to reopen 700 of these centers, most of which provide at least 2 meals a day for the children there. At the same time the Hartford Courant reported on Oct. 3, 2013 that a federal audit of 20 private home day cares throughout CT found violations in every one of them; dog droppings, insects, very few toys, children under 2 left unattended. The state checks day care providers once every three years. It would require $1.4 million a year to increase the checks to annually. The whole point of mentioning this is while we are doing all we can on a state and federal level for our neediest, what are we doing for the middle class? They are scrambling to provide daycare at their own expense, just praying that their 2 year old is not being left unattended. Who is looking out for them?
Sara Emma October 22, 2013 at 05:27 PM
Here in Hartford, CT we have many preschool programs through Capitol Region Education Council and magnet schools. This sounds wonderful in theory, but sadly these programs are often steering our three and four year olds into formal education and testing. We are hoping these measures will close the achievement gap, but are we really closing their young minds to imagination, inventiveness and discovery? I recently read that in Finland, where formal education does not begin until age 7 and there is no testing until their teens, they are outperforming us here in the U.S. We need more programs with creative play that nourish young minds, not overwhelm them.

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