The Importance of Early Childhood Education

A  not-so-curious thing is happening in education.

Early Childhood Education is very hot right now. President Barack Obama even mentioned it in his inauguration address. Every talking head in the world of education is blah blah blah-ing about how an early start to reading, writing, math, and school habits is what determines future academic success and often success in life overall. I don’t disagree. I am not at all versed (academically) in early childhood education literature, policies, or practices (except from my own experiences of a mother of two small children currently aged 3 and 5), but this is what I don’t understand.

In my neighborhood in Brooklyn, a very well-off spot, pre-kindergarten classes are being cut left and right. Of the four most sought after elementary schools, three have cut ALL of their pre-k classes.

For those of you who don’t understand the NYC Department of Education, pre-kindergarten is optional–for both schools and parents. There is discussion of making it compulsory, but again, that’s a just a bunch of hot air coming out of politician’s mouths, because right as they say those words schools are cutting programs. Thankfully, for us, our elementary school is the ONE school left that will have TWO classes (the classes are capped at 18), but, like I said, we are lucky.

Yet another coffee cup (venti sized) of hypocrisy brewing…

Came across this great infographic on the benefits of early childhood education. Thought it was worth reading.

Please Include Attribution to With This Graphic Preschool Infographic

3 thoughts on “The Importance of Early Childhood Education

  1. I don’t mean to say that pre-school doesn’t have a positive effect on children at an early level, particularly in early reading/writing skills (because i am sure it does put kids ahead of the game).

    However, i guess to sort of re-iterate my correlation is not causation point- the graphic above describes a clear correlation between children who go to pre-school and being a successful adult (which i don’t dispute). The graphic also states that more pre-school for all children means a brighter future for all those children who attended, which implies that because there is a correlation between pre-school and successful adults, pre-school is the cause of it’s attendees becoming successful.

    My claim is that attending pre-school, although correlated with children becoming successful adults (not going to prison or being on welfare, etc), is not necessarily the reason it’s attendees become successful. Rather, I think the reason children become successful adults is more likely the same reason they attend pre-school in the first place: They come from a more well-off community, and/or a positive family situation, with parents who want to ensure their child thrives. The motivation/situation of the parents who put their kids through pre-school (vs. parents who do not, or are not able to) is what has the positive effect on the children becoming successful all throughout their lives- from making sure the child is doing well in school, to disciplinary action, to being a caring parent, to being able to be around for the child, to helping the child apply for college etc.

    If suddenly law required all children to go to pre-school (as law requires all kids to go to K-12) and the government payed for all children’s pre-school and getting them there etc, I think the statistics in the above graphic would dramatically change and you would no longer see that correlation between pre-school and success since it would no longer only be children from “good” life situations going to pre-school, but students with more difficult life situations as well. So, the statistics would balance out.

    Hope that explains my spiel a bit better.

  2. Hello Mr. Pretentious Coffee,
    What is actually being said is that there IS causation. That’s what’s so ludicrous. The data (such a hot word in education) states that early childhood education will help increase graduation rates, college degrees, etc., but then–here in yuppieland Park Slope–they are cutting it (public pre-Kindergarten) left and right. Of course, in this neighborhood many of us can pay for private pre-school, but in other neighborhoods where that’s not an option for the parents,(and the kid gets “watched” by grandma who lets said kid watch 8 hours of TV a day) the students are starting at a disadvantage and they’ll be playing catch up from day one of kindergarten.

    What really threw me this year with my daughter in kindergarten is how academic it is and how transparent the teachers are about it. When I went to kindergarden (in 1979, which, yes, was quite a while ago), we played, played, played and the teacher read to us. It was all about socialization. Now it’s about reading, writing, and math skills. My daughter is doing fine, but she also went to public pre-K and has ridiculously overeducated parents. But there are kids in the class who did not go to school at all before kindergarten who are struggling, as told to me by her teacher. And she has an EXCELLENT teacher. As an educator, I don’t say that lightly.

    Anyhoo, wanted to respond to you since we are neighbors and all. Watch out there in Bay Ridge–the hipsters aren’t coming for you (yet), but some of us families who can’t afford life here or who rent might be headed your way 😉


  3. Correlation is not causation. Going to Preschool does not necessarily increase chances of a child’s success. Rather, kids growing up in a family that wants to support their child and help them succeed in life is the same type of family that will make their kid go to preschool. The family and support the child is born into is therefore what has the positive long term effects on the child and not the preschool. I would put a lot of money on the fact that if the government suddenly made all kids go to preschool it would have no significant positive effects as the graphic above seems to indicate.

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