High Quality Preschools
The Importance of High Quality Preschool Programs
Many parents view preschool as glorified babysitting, and question whether or not it is worth investing in high quality preschool education. Some believe that preschool is merely a preparation for kindergarten and think their child can “learn what they need to know” and “catch up with the other kids” once they start kindergarten. To these parents, we emphatically suggest that where you place your child in preschool is one of the most important investments you will make in your child’s education.
“High-quality early childhood education represents one of the best investments our country can make” said National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel; “High-quality early childhood education is fundamental to a student’s long term success.”
Research has shown that the early years in a child’s life—when the human brain is forming—represent a critically important window of opportunity to develop a child’s full potential and shape key academic, social, and cognitive skills that determine a child’s success.
Studies have proven that the human brain develops the vast majority of its neurons, between birth and age five. Researchers have stated that 85% of who you are as an adult, your intellect, your personality and your social skills are developed by age five. Numerous studies link children’s high-quality preschool experiences to their success in school and life. Simply put, a child’s early years lay the foundation for everything that is to come.
James Heckman, one of the nation’s top economists studying human development and recipient of Nobel Prize, along with the research of countless others has dramatically altered the The United States’ entire approach to education. Heckmans studies show the results of cognitive tests that were first performed in the 1980s on several hundred 3-year-olds, who were then retested at ages 5, 8 and 18. Amazingly, the difference in cognitive performance was just as big at age 18 as it had been at age 3 and 5. “The learning gap is there before kids walk into kindergarten,” Stated Mr. Heckman, “School neither increases nor reduces it.”
Numerous studies have proven early experiences that are nurturing and involve active learning, actually thicken the cortex of a child’s brain, creating a brain with more extensive and sophisticated neuron structures that later determine intelligence and behavior. Yes, your child will catch up with other children on ABCs and 123s in kindergarten, however there is so much more that needs to be developed in these critical years.
What is a High Quality Preschool Program?
High quality preschools are aimed at creating an age appropriate atmosphere to develop the ability to think, reason, problem solve and learn. Early childhood education specialists know how to nurture the natural curiosity of a young child and help children discover and make real world connections. Pushing academics to soon or requiring young children to sit and listen for long periods of time is an unhealthy practice and the end result is a child down the road who is bored in school, does not enjoy learning, and does not seek information on their own.
The quality level in preschools varies greatly, and it can be difficult to decide which one is best for your family, yet the research is clear on the importance of this decision.
- Bipartisan bill creates billions for early childhood education - National Education Association
- Early Childhood Learning - Whitehouse.gov
- Brain Development and Early Learning - Wisconsin Council on Children & Families
- Study Highlights Benefits of Early Education - New York Times
- Study Shows the Right Preschool Leads to Later Success - Education.com
- Why Early Childhood Education Matters - Good Magazine