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Monday, November 15, 2010

Early Childhood Education – More Than Daycare

If you are a single parent who must hold down a job (or, as is the "uniquely American" case oftentimes,
two or three jobs) in order to provide for a family, it goes without saying that when it comes to toddlers
and pre-schoolers especially, quality daycare is a necessity. But is it enough?

If you are among the fortunate enough to have family members or a neighbor who is willing to look
after your very young child while you are on the job – or are able to hire a babysitter – your child is
probably missing some important opportunities for intellectual growth. Yes, his/her physical needs for
nourishment and protection are certainly being met, and there may be some socialization that occurs
in a typical day care center, but many of them neglect learning activities that can stimulate cognitive
function and give the child a firm foundation for furthering his/her education later in life.

It Starts On Day One

What happens to a child between birth and age five has a tremendous impact on their performance in
school later on, this is a well known fact that Educators have long realized (even if policymakers refuse
to acknowledge it). Sadly, although a recent policy decreed that "every child will enter school ready to
learn," lawmakers on Capitol Hill were as usual very vague on how this is supposed to happen.

Research has proven that children may start learning even before birth; during the last trimester,
the child may benefit from exposure to certain types of music as well as speech. The human brain
undergoes rapid growth throughout the preschool years; it is safe to say that what happens to a child
during the first five years of life largely shapes the adult s/he will become. At this stage of a child's life,
s/he develops his/her basic language skills, a sense of self, his/her place in the group and the role of
culture – all the basic tools required to function in a given society.

In short, the preschool years are those in which an elastic, malleable brain is "hardwired."

The Benefits

It has been clearly demonstrated that even one year of attendance at a certified preschool in which
young children have opportunities for cognitive development through age-appropriate learning
activities (such as educational games and other forms of constructive play) gives a child a tremendous
advantage when they enter kindergarten. Such children have superior skills in reading, writing and
speaking and mathematics – which are the foundation of every other subject. Additionally, children
with a year or more of academic preschool have better social skills and are able to function better in a
group setting. The effects of a quality preschool education will last a lifetime – and make it far more
likely that the child will succeed as an adult in a Darwinian economic and social system in which every
person is for him or herself and the only rule is "survival of the fittest."

Co-written by Emily Patterson and Kathleen Thomas

"Emily and Kathleen are Communications Coordinators for the <a href="">Atlanta day care</a> facility, a member of the AdvancED® accredited family of Primrose Schools (located in 16 states throughout the U.S.) and part of the network of <a href="">day care</a> preschools delivering progressive, early childhood, Balanced Learning® curriculum."

1 comment:

Anestazia said...

I entirely agree with the statements expressed here.

Its sad that many children of lower income families are not able to achieve the same benefits that children of higher income families. And by this, I mean, not being able to attend a daycare or preschool where they're mind can be enriched with information. Many children on the lower end of the income scale end up staying with family members, such as grandparents, while the parents are running around from job to job. Because they are not able to learn at this age, they have no interest in learning while they are in school, and the cycle continues.

That's why I love programs, such as Headstart, which focus on the such issues of these children. If only our society can truly value the importance of receiving proper education, our country may be able to solve some our issues.

Sorry for my rambling, this is just a subject I feel very strongly about. Thank you for posting!