Early Childhood Education...It's Worth It.The benefits of early-childhood education are numerous.
By: Alexandra O'Reilly and Brandon Less, Sibley Scribe
When it comes to education, all parents wants the best for their child, but in this day and age, childhood learning is not always an option. In the US, there are conflicting ideas on the subject. Some agree with spending millions of dollars each year to fund the programs and keep them up and running, while those who disagree say that it’s a waste of money. It has been shown that with a high quality early-childhood education program, children can be more successful in their learning than if they were to start their education at a later age such as the normal five or six years old. Early childhood education proves to be useful in a child’s success in later life through the applicable academic skills it teaches the children.
Some of these useful skills that can be learned through early childhood education are better higher-order thinking and attention skills; better reading, writing, and mathematical abilities; better social skills; less grade retention; higher graduation rates; fewer special education placements; fewer behavioral problems; less societal disengagement later in life; more economic productivity later in life; less dependency on welfare later in life; and higher sense of social stability later in life. One of the primary studies that support early education is the HighScope Perry Preschool Study. This study tested 123 “at-risk” three to four-year-olds, dividing them randomly into two groups, one receiving high-quality early childhood education and the other not. Forty years later, in 2005, almost all of these students were interviewed and their records were investigated. The results showed that those who had participated in the high-quality pre-school program were more likely to hold a job, to have graduated from high school and had earned $2000 more per month. Another study, the Abecedarian Project, showed that such children were also less likely to repeat grades or get into trouble with the law.
The National Education Association (NEA) recommends mandatory full-day kindergarten, federal funds to make pre-kindergarten available for all three and four-year-olds from disadvantaged families, and a free “universal” pre-kindergarten that is publicly funded. One publicly funded program is the Head Start Program. Since its beginnings in 1965, it has helped more than 30,000,000 children between the ages of three and five years old in their early stages of development. The Head Start program is helped greatly by local groups providing services that include educational, nutritional and social services to low-income children and their families. Though the federal government does not require it, the state of Minnesota adds statewide funds to the Head Start program, which gives the program a big boost. Early childhood development is key to the beginning of a bright future, as most studies have shown. It seems that the resources required to fund Head Start and other early-childhood education programs are well worth making.
Sources : http://www.highscope.org/ ; http://www.nea.org/home/18163.htm