To the Editor:
Early childhood education is to create the fundamental foundation for learning. It provides the social, emotional and educational skills needed to succeed in school and throughout adulthood.
Early childhood education does play a crucial role in a child’s development. Our brains do not develop at an even pace. The most rapid brain development occurs in the first five years of life. Obviously, what happens in the first few years are of the greatest importance and has long-term consequences.
Young children should be exposed to the broadest possible range of positive experiences. They should be encouraged to learn in various ways.
Pre-school programs also develop “non-cognitive skills.” Skills in cooperation, patience, planning and delaying gratification. These skills are valuable assets for self-discipline. Children with these skills are more curious and open to learning.
Dr. James Heckman, an economist and Nobel laureate, has analyzed the economic value of a high quality early childhood education. His research revealed the benefits outweigh the costs. Benefits may come from cost savings for special education, less burdens on social programs, higher academic achievement and higher tax revenues. Dr. Heckman concluded this is one of few government programs that is cost-effective and worth the investment.
Our children are our greatest asset. So we no longer can ignore the positive effects of an early education. I absolutely believe our nation’s greatest resource is an educated citizenry.
Quoting Ralph Marston, “What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.”