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Early childhood development is about preparing for success

  • Published in Letters

To The Daily Sun,

I thank all of you who have spoken to me about my letters. This one is about a serious matter that the far right and far left should all agree upon.

Early Child Development is about preparing babies from birth to succeed in their education and lives. Public education in this country is not able to produce educated graduates. Charter schools may do better; that is an open question. Here is the answer: parents must be shown how to prepare their baby from birth to start in kindergarten at the level of children from educated privileged families. Kindergarten teachers have told me that they can tell, with fair accuracy, on the day they enter how a child will do in life.

Every educator knows the value of these programs. They make their jobs more productive in many ways. Every grade school teacher knows how much time is spent working with discipline and failing students. The schools would not have as many drop outs. Their overall school performance would drastically improve.

The second equally important component of ECD is the health of the children. Neglected, sick, abused and hungry children can only learn to repeat what they are exposed to from birth.

The Family Resource Center of Lakes Region Community Services, and the United Way have programs which are trying to address the things I talk about above. Unfortunately public funding has been reduced and funneled to other places. (I will not get into that here.) A program that I am working to start in a village near NYC will require that I raise large amounts of money to get started. I am seeing more and more very wealthy individuals and foundations recognizing the need to invest in ECD.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis made a study years ago which showed in dollars how much such a program can save the schools and society in general. These cost vs returns studies took into account many factors such as the wasted time of teachers trying to help failing pupils, while shorting their primary job of teaching the curriculum. It went on to the cost of welfare, and the criminal justice system. The graduates of schools go on to get jobs, pay taxes, and raise, wanted, responsible children. The return on the cost of ECD is $17 for every $1 invested. You can Google the link to see the entire report. There are many others on the subject that are very interesting.

Kent Warner

Center Harbor