Early Learning Community

Tips and resources to support children birth to age five

With so many problems facing our country, why should I choose early learning or early childhood education as an issue to support over other issues? Why should the local, state and federal governments spend their limited resources on early learning? Please convince me why I should care.

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That's a great point Armilito. If you’re passionate about improving your community there are a lot of ways to help, however few investments have as large of a return as early learning. For each dollar invested in children, birth through age five, communities benefit over $17 in cost savings and increased productivity. That might be enough for a government to make this a priority.

Another way to look at this is from the business side of things. Boeing, Microsoft, Google and other have invested billions of dollars in a community and in a region and want to ensure that they will have a qualified, skilled workforce for the future. When businesses invest in early learning they are ensuring that they will be competitive in the future.

Any other thoughts?
My son is in an early intervention program which is on some point of the continuum for early ed and without it i wouldn't necessarily have known all the important things he should be learning before he enters into kindergarten. I think early learning programs are detrimental to successful education in the way that kids are prepared for school and school learning.
This is great news - have you heard of the Getting School Ready! site or booklet? We have more support info at www.gettingschoolready.org or you can order booklets.
I think I'm still unclear as to what is being supported here on this site...I just joined. Is this about funding for certain programs or encouraging Americans to understand what young children can learn and how to foster learning?
Studies show that children who start school behind (measured in terms of letter recognition & other readiness skills) often stay behind. Nationally Kindergarten teachers report that 40% of children are not fully prepared for school. These children are also more likely to still be behind in 4th grade. Looking at a long-term study, children who were behind in 3rd grade are more likely to drop out of high school. So early childhood education directly relates to the high school drop-out rate and the success of students throughout their school career. High quality early learning for all children can eliminate these gaps. Decreasing the high school drop-out rate is better for our country because high school graduates earn more than someone without a high school degree making them less likely to rely on government resources. Educated citizens are also more likely to make informed decisions during elections and become positive contributing members of society.

Source: David Pavelchek, “Teacher Perceptions of Preparedness for Kindergarten”, Social & Economic Sciences Research Center-Puget Sound Division, Washington State University, April 2005.

Source: The National Adult Literacy Survey (unpublished analysis by Camevale and Desroches, 2003). Cited in “A Policy Primer: Quality Pre-Kindergarten”, Trust for Early Education, Fall 2004.

Source: Juel, Connie (1988). Learning to read and write: A longitudinal study of 54 children from first grade through fourth grades. Journal of Educational Psychology, Vol 80, 437-447. Cited in “A Policy Primer: Quality Pre-Kindergarten”, Trust for Early Education, Fall 2004.

Source: National Research Council. Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children. Edited by Catherine E. Snow, Susan Burns and Peg Griffin, Committee on the Prevention of Reading Difficulties in Young Children. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1998.

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