The Benefits of Early Childhood Education
During their early years, children go through critical stages of development, and consistent, high-quality early childhood education can have long-lasting, beneficial effects on the overall development of children. Choosing a preschool in which your child will be loved and cared for is of utmost importance, of course. But it's also important to select a preschool that will partner with your family to ensure your child's healthy development throughout his or her early childhood education years.
Social and Emotional Development
Having your child attend the same preschool program throughout his or her early years allows him or her to develop relationships with the adults and children in that environment, which provides a sense of security. A child who is comfortable with the people in his or her life is more likely to participate in learning opportunities and in advanced cooperative play, such as role playing with others, playing games with rules, and working with others to accomplish goals. Children who experience consistency in their early childhood education program demonstrate less aggressive behaviors, because of their ability to interact with others and use their language skills to resolve conflicts. For young children, the knowledge that teachers, other children, and daily routines will be consistent over time fosters confidence and competency in social settings.
Consistency in the preschool program can significantly impact a child's cognitive development. High-quality early childhood development programs that provide developmentally appropriate curricula, enable children to develop specific cognitive skills at the appropriate age. Developmentally appropriate curricula help children develop cognitive skills through a developmental continuum, meaning the curricula builds on children's existing skills and knowledge to help them acquire new skills and knowledge. In addition, curriculum programs that incorporate developmental objectives ensure children follow a scope and sequence of age-appropriate developmental milestones throughout their time in the program.
Language development occurs at a rapid pace in children between the ages of one and five years old. Children who are secure in their environment and with the people around them are more likely to engage in frequent, age-appropriate conversations. These daily interactions lead to more advanced language skills by promoting vocabulary development and conversational skills. Through activities such as daily group discussions, finger-plays, songs, and read-alouds, children develop the fundamental language skills they will continue to build on throughout their lifetimes.
Why Early Childhood Education?
Research shows that 85% of brain development occurs by age 5, and that high-quality early childhood care and education leads to:
- higher rates of high school graduation and overall success in school
- higher levels of employment and income as adults
- lower school dropout rates
- lower rates of teen parenthood
- lower rates of violent crime
A Return on Investment
For every $1 invested in early childhood education, it has been estimated that $7 to $10 is saved on remedial education, health and criminal justice expenditures. Nobel Laureate and University of Chicago Economist James Heckman has completed groundbreaking work in the economics of human development. He reports that investing in early childhood development will produce great returns to individuals and society in better education, health, economic and social outcomes - not only saving taxpayers money, but increasing economic productivity.