Thursday, January 9, 2014

Why Early Childhood Education is a Must for All Kids

The advances in cognitive science over the past decade have put the argument for early childhood education (ECE) to bed. There really is nothing more to talk about. Your child has to be stimulated in the correct ways between the ages of birth and age 8 in order to take advantage of brain development. With that established, you may still have some questions about what ECE means for you as a parent or caregiver:

  • What is Early Childhood Education?  ECE refers to a curriculum that is based on education standards and is in accordance with cognitive science findings. ECE is taught outside the home by qualified teachers who have completed a rigorous training program and student teaching. Students usually attend at the age from age 3 until Kindergarten begins.
  • My state does not require it, so it cannot be that good, right? Wrong. As has been historically the case here in the USA, getting adequate funding for education is like pulling teeth. States do not require it because, in short, they do not want to pay for it. Recently, more federal monies have become available through the Race to the Top Grants. But states have to apply for these monies and it is very competitive. Read about a state that applied but lost the grant here. Read about a state that did get a grant here. Early childhood education is proven to be good for kids and for society. Kids who participate in ECE have a substantially higher chance of graduating from college, getting a job, and staying out of the prison system.
  • So, if my state does not have free ECE what can I do? This is the question that reveals one of the biggest gaps between classes. The rich pay for their kids to go to private ECE programs. The less fortunate have to compete for slots in Head Start Programs, pay for ECE themselves, or teach their kids at home. There are many important skills taught at ECE programs: social skills, school readiness, basic motor skills, the sounds of the letters and the alphabet name just a few. But if you are not able to enroll your child in an ECE program, you can do a great job yourself.
    • Make play dates where you child learns to share and work cooperatively with others.
    • Read to your child every day, twice a day.
    • Play games while you are doing errands “How many red cars do you see”? “Can you find a banana in this part of the store?”
    • Teach your child the alphabet, and the sounds of the letters.
    • Teach them how to write their first and last name.
    • Talk to them a lot and ask them to make choices. “Do you want to wear your blue shirt or plaid one?”
  • What happens to kids who do not get ECE There is no definitive answer to this. Overall, statistically, kids who do not have this opportunity fall very short of the mark in Kindergarten. From the get go, they are behind. School is difficult and not fun. The probabilities that they will drop out of high school are astonishingly high. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, and much of this has to do with family and the role models kids have in their life. 
I was a teacher for 25 years in the public schools of California. I have seen first-hand the evolution of Kindergarten going from playtime to reading books by June. It is a different world today. Kids who did not go to pre-school, let alone Kindergarten, have virtually no chance to ever catch up. First Grade begins by reading books now! If your child is not reading by the beginning for First Grade, they are behind. No one will stop to help them catch up; the learning standards will not allow time for this. ECE is an absolute necessity. Be sure your child gets what they need, however you can.

About the Author: Katherine Katsenis is an experienced English As A Second Language teacher in the Greater Los Angeles Area.  Learn more about Katherine on LinkedIn.


Shanna Sola said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Great article. Very informative. Early education is so important for our children and too easily overlooked.

VickeC said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

interesting post,,I can say as a mom an grandma that if kids don't have some early education,they are behind the rest when they do start school,,so many preschoolers are advanced when they start school

Marilyn said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Our granddaughter turned four on Tuesday and we have her in prep school two mornings a week now, and next school year she is signed up for three mornings and the opposite two afternoons.

Right now we have story time on Monday mornings at our local Library. It's a great program, they sing songs, read books, exercise and do a craft. The cost, is showing up. People need to take advantage of these programs. We try to make a nice donation to the Library for all the wonderful things the do!

I also have her work on her alphabet, writing her name and letters every day. She made all her Christmas presents for her family and friends. She sewed pillowcases for her friends and did art projects for family. She helps when we make lunch and we try to bake once a week. In the summer we spend most of our days working in the yard and swimming every day.

I try to create learning in our daily activities. I don't want her to struggle when she starts school.

Sandra VanHoey said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

This is the time they learn so much and I think this is something all children need. They learn so much more than we even realize and are able to accomplish so much more as well. We have many learning games, etc here but I like some of the things you mentioned like finding the red cars, etc. We can do that with my great niece and would be fun for her as well. She is 3

Janet W. said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

This young age is when they really soak everything up like a sponge! Very informative article!

Lisa Brown said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

The earlier you start a human being's education, the better off they are and more successful in their educational career and in life. Great post.

gail said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

It is worthwhile to point out as well that many day care providers (for working families) run excellent EC programs. They have many structured activities and schedule blocks of time that ensure all readiness areas are addressed. They often have extra staff working with them and enough children to make real social interaction meaningful. All day care is not the same.
As a kindergarten teacher, I can see a huge difference between the children who may be staying home with an elderly relative watching TV or playing video games, and kids who have a "teacher" caring for them.

Tracie Trump said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

As a ECE teacher I have seen the positive effects that early education can have in the social, mental, physical and emotional development of children. A quality ECE program can give a child a lasting educational advantage for life.

nici said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

This is great info about ECE. I like the other options mentioned if you can't get your kid into an ECE program. If you go to parks in your area, you may find a mommy group that meets a certain day and time that you can join and have your child play with other kids.

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