Quality education in childhood leads to continuous success
Some form of education, whether it is in a formal school setting or an informal setting in the home, greatly benefits children by the time they reach traditional school ages. Children are better equipped to learn, better behaved, and overall more prepared. This article explores the research and pros and cons of educating the youngest of students.
Preschool and kindergarten are important beginnings to the academic careers of children. Parents and teachers involved during this step are influential in helping kids master the material, and to relax and enjoy learning.
To help children get the most out of their schooling, it's important to understand the significance of the history and theories of early childhood education, and the prominent practices and studies dedicated to get children ready to learn.These early child education articles will help parents and educators prepare for one of the most important phases of a student's life.
Every year, tens of millions of parents enroll their children in early childhood education programs. These programs vary widely, with some parents putting their children in religious academies and others receiving the go-ahead to enroll their children in low-income programs such as Head Start. But does early childhood education actually make a difference in terms of educational attainment?
Parents often wonder why young children need to be enrolled in preschool. Some assume their kids are only learning the names of the letters or numbers-concepts they feel they could easily teach on their own. However, a wealth of recent research points to a great need for mental stimulation between the ages of 2 to 5, as this is when children make the greatest gains in learning. For example, toddlers are barely able to put a sentence together, but by the time they enter kindergarten, kids can have long, complicated discussions with adults.
According to a 2007 publication from the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, children build more complex skills from the basic, foundational capabilities (often fostered in early development curricula). Children placed in preschool programs are given greater opportunities to develop a wide range of skills, thus better preparing them for the additional challenges that will be presented in kindergarten. And with the ever-increasing push for high test scores, children not enrolled in preschool risk being incredibly far behind from the moment they begin grade school.
Several long-term studies concerning the impact of preschool on graduation rates have been published in the last few decades. The bulk of the research shows that early childhood education is an excellent investment, particularly among students growing up in low-income areas. A great example of this can be seen in the HighScope Perry Preschool Study Through Age 40, in which 123 at-risk African Americans were followed beginning at the age of three and continuing until they hit forty years of age. The results of this study were striking - participants having attended preschool had graduation rates averaging nearly 80 percent, while the graduation rate for those not enrolled in preschool was only 60 percent. Enrollment in early childhood education also impacted income later in life, with preschool attendees far more likely to earn annual incomes exceeding $20,000.
While achieving high graduation rates is a worthy goal in and of itself, it is certainly not the only positive outcome that arises from enrolling children in preschool. The National Education Association (NEA) lists several studies that show the vast benefits of early childhood education, lower rates of teenage pregnancy, reduced juvenile delinquency, better scores on standardized tests, a greater ability to move through the grades without having to repeat any and, of course, greater levels of employment and higher wages in adulthood.
It can be helpful for those who have experience with early childhood education to understand the prevailing theories behind it. There have been many influential psychologists and educators who have contributed to the ideas behind many current techniques.
Understanding these theories can help educators and parents know what to expect from children at different stages of development. This can help prevent unrealistic expectations and equip educators to know when their students are able to be challenged more and taken to the next level academically, socially and physically.
Early childhood education is a worthwhile investment. Parents able to enroll their children in preschool should definitely do so, as it provides their kids a significant step up in life. And society needs to place a greater emphasis on funding programs such as Head Start, for these could potentially bring millions of low-income kids up into the middle class.
A study shows that high-quality education early in a child's life leads to continued success later in school, at work, and leads to better well-rounded emotionally and socially. This article also points out that spending resources toward education earlier in life is much more fiscally responsible than paying later to help a struggling child catch up.