The Value of Early Childhood Education

by Becton Loveless

Most children begin receiving formal education during kindergarten. Recent scientific research has proven that learning and mental development begin immediately after birth. During the first three years of a child's life, essential brain and neural development occurs. Therefore, children greatly benefit by receiving education before kindergarten.

Since kindergarten begin around the ages of 5 to 6 for most children, after major brain development occurs, parents should begin educating children at younger ages.

Many parents begin educating their children during these important developmental years. However, many parents neglect to take the time to educate their young children. Many factors can contribute to this, such as long work schedules and ignorance about the importance of educating children at a young age.

Unfortunately, not only are children negatively affected by not being educated at early ages, but the negative affects often reverberate through society. A study conducted by the Abecedarian (ABC) Project evaluated two groups of children for an extended period of time, those with formal pre-school education and those not receiving any formal education. According to their findings, children with formal education scored higher on reading tests during subsequent school years. It was also shown that the children who did not receive any formal education in their pre-kindergarten years were more likely to struggle with substance abuse and delinquent behaviors in their early adult years.

The conclusions drawn from most research about early childhood education are that individuals and societies greatly benefit, in terms of social, economic, and other benefits, from it. Greater emphasis placed on early education is one strategy to alleviate substance abuse and criminal behavior that plagues many adolescents and young adults. The economic benefits, for example, can be immense when emphasis is placed on early childhood education.

Recent research from the National Association of State Boards of Education found that it is futile to establish federal educational goals without pre-kindergarten education programs.

The United Way is an organization that works to improve pre-kindergarten education. As a result, it's involved in a national campaign known as Born Learning, a campaign designed to encourage parents to begin educating children at a young age. The United Way works with parents who feel unprepared or unable to effectively educate their young children. For example, since children have low attention spans, parents are encouraged to use everyday routine activities to teach children valuable lessons, such as asking a child to go into a room and retrieve a specified amount of items. This helps young children become familiar with numbers and learn to count. Other activities, such as having children identify the colors and shapes of objects, is another effective activity to educate them.

Improving the pre-kindergarten education of children is one step that can be taken to improve a society economically and socially. It has been shown that children should begin to receive education before kindergarten since children experience substantial brain development during these early years.

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