Starting education early aids kids’ learning. Here is a fabulous news story about why early childhood education is expensive but for some children the cost is well worth it.
Philadelphia, August 2012 - If Smart Start-Centre County could have one lasting message, it would be that high quality learning experiences before age 5 are vital. From birth to age 5, the brain produces 700 synapses per second, while after age 5 no new circuits develop.
Those first five years must be capitalized or the cost borne later. For every dollar spent on high quality early education for at-risk children, $4 to $16 on special education, criminal justice, and unemployment costs are saved.
The odds are 3 to 1 that children with more than four risk factors in early childhood will develop heart disease, hypertension, and/or diabetes by the time they are 50-60 years old (National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, 2010).
High quality learning experiences can happen anywhere, and they must happen where young children spend their time.
Many children are in childcare up to 50 hours a week, and many others attend part-time preschool. Education in general is expensive; high quality early education is even more costly.
For safety, healthy development and quality learning, young children require personal care and more individual attention than older students. Preschool alone costs about $US300 to $US600 per month, and childcare for two children can cost well more than $US1000 per month.
While Pennsylvania has instituted Pre-K Counts and Keystone STARS to promote access to quality programmes, only 38 percent of Centre County’s young children have access to publicly-funded quality programmes.
Smart Start-Centre County is trying to close that gap. As the only approved pre-K EITC scholarship organization that gives scholarships to children in a variety of quality programmes in the county, opportunities are provided for children who might otherwise be victims of circumstances.
The mother of a past scholarship recipient wrote: “My husband and I are so grateful for the Pre-K scholarship. Our son is truly enjoying going to school and learning. Without the assistance, it would have been difficult to keep our son in preschool.”
A preschool director discussed the benefits of the programme for another recipient: “A.’s teachers have commented on how his ability to be compassionate and co-operative has improved in the last few months.
He is learning about maths and problem solving. By building these essential skills, he will have the foundation for a good elementary school experience. Thank you for providing this essential start to his education.”
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