How Early Childhood Education Helps Young Kids
National health care research doesn’t support a very favorable conclusion. Many studies show that it takes about 12 years of education before children can graduate from high school and earn a college degree, and the majority don’t graduate from high school at all. The fact that so many children don’t graduate from high school leaves them woefully unprepared to start working life.
Although this may seem like a discouraging conclusion, what if we took a look at preschool education? Although there isn’t a uniform national study, there is no denying that there is very strong evidence that taking early childhood education seriously could improve cognitive, language, and social/emotional skills for children. Therefore, it would appear that preschool may in fact be a valuable investment for both parents and employers.
The Chattanooga Multipurpose Preschool – a four-year pilot program that appears to have had some success in reducing the dropout rate, and helping preschoolers to master the skills necessary to enjoy and benefit from high school – has shown it to be even more effective. This program was funded by a private donation and a $30,000 grant from the Tennessee Promise Scholarship Program.
Although much research has been done on students who enter Kindergarten reading at grade level, only one percent of students making it to Kindergarten are reading at a third-grade level. Chattanooga – which specializes in serving children from low-income families – has shown that its program is actually making a significant dent in these failing kids’ performance. Students who joined the preschool at the age of 4 were 53 percent more likely to graduate from high school by 10th grade and 55 percent more likely to enter the workforce than students in the population that didn’t go to preschool. It is crucial that children start learning the skills necessary to achieve academically early on, because a lot can be done to help them before that age. Early childhood development improves children’s social-emotional well-being, academic preparation, and cognitive development, and that’s exactly what the Chattanooga school is doing.
This preschool is the first program of its kind to operate as a model for future state preschool programs. Of course, there is a lot that still needs to be researched, and things will take time to be replicated, but the findings are encouraging. It would appear that early childhood education is better than ever before.