Professor Kelly Mink
ENGL102 Effectiveness in Writing
January 20, 2018
Benefits of Early Educational Investment
Education is the foundation that one can build upon to become not only a contributing member of society but it provides the means to a deeper understanding of philosophical ideas as well as the understanding of the building blocks of the world around us. Exposing children to education during their early formative years, allows them to use the most knowledge absorbing times of their lives to not only gain an early understanding of the educational basics but it teaches them the value of that education early in their lives. Education provides a level playing felid for every child no matter their socioeconomic background. While there are real arguments against providing early educational opportunities for children during their formative years, the benefit is strong enough to call for support.
There are those who believe that young children would do better with either direct instruction or the ability to do nothing more than play. With direct instruction “Students aren’t wasting time with irrelevant material or having to relearn or review material they may have forgotten” (Stockard). Broad educational milestones applied to early childhood education appears to be the main concern with those who do not feel it should be a requirement for each child. The fundamental premise that children learn through play should not be relied on as the sole provision for their education. Young children are in need during these formative years of their life for both educational guidance but also developmental guidance from the adults in their lives.
Investment in educational access in the early years of a child’s life will increase their chances of educational success later in life. “States and the federal government have sought to increase the participation of low-income children in early childhood education programs in a number of ways: through Head Start, pre-kindergarten programs, and means-tested child care assistance programs that can be used to pay for center-based care” (Duncan). Giving children the opportunity to learn is something that is beneficial to every child involved in the process. The early years of a child’s life are when they are most pliable when it comes to information retention. The benefits of information retention can also come in the form of the ability to speak and understand more than one language, among other benefits. These years are imperative and must be utilized to help each student prepare for any future they desire for themselves, regardless of their socioeconomic background.
“Socioeconomic inequality is regarded as a fundamental cause of disparities in physical, socioemotional, and cognitive development across the life course” (Molborn). Access to early education provides more than just the opportunity to learn. Early education provides children with the ability to interact with their peers, to learn more about where they exist in their world. Beyond that, early education also provides the ability to provide food for each child. When examining the influential variables that surround early education access peer access and access to nourishment is something that must be calculated as beneficial. “Social and emotional competencies as they relate to school readiness have gained enormous attention” (Darling-Churchill). Early education prepares children for their role in public and/or private school in the later grades.
Children who live in poverty or are of a lower socioeconomic status benefit greatly from early educational opportunities. “The improvements for these children’s early childhood intellectual, social, emotional, and dispositional performances extend throughout their school years in areas of (1) learning; (2) reduced need for placement in special education classes in later childhood; (3) higher school achievement and commitment in early adolescence; (4) lower rates of high school incompletions, juvenile arrests, and welfare assistance as an adult; and (5) higher instances of wealth in later adolescence and early adulthood” (Bakken). Children who live in poverty often do not have access to the same educational benefits as their peers who belong to a higher socioeconomic class. Such benefits include access to books, educational based programs such as Sesame Street, and parents/caregivers who are able to spend ample quality time with children exposing them to a large vocabulary. By providing early educational access to low-income children, the disparity that exists between socioeconomic statuses closes, creating an equal footing from which their futures can be built.
Education in regards to its applicability to young children does not have to be an either-or situation, either kids learn or they play. In many instances, teachers teach by utilizing play. The ability to play with their peers in an environment that promotes education gives young children the best of both worlds; education and play. The fact remains that the different socioeconomic status that exists in the United States plays a major role in regards to what the children of those statuses have available to them and often times influences the outcomes later in their lives. Providing each child the opportunity to attend early education is an investment in not only their present but their future. Whether the education is provided by a teacher to a classroom full of students or if it is provided by one teacher to one student (direct interaction), the child is given a benefit that will last beyond the years that encompass early childhood. Early childhood is the start of what can be a learned lifelong love of learning. Early educational access can be the key to raising an entire generation of well informed, critically thinking American citizens, of which every American can benefit from.
Bakken, Linda., Brown, Nola., & Downing, Barry. “Early Childhood Education: The Long Term Benefits.” Journal of Research in Childhood Education (2017). Web.
Darling-Churchill, Kristen E., & Lippman, Laura. “Early Childhood Social and Emotional Development: Advancing the Field of Measurement.” Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology (2016): 1-7. Web.
Duncan, Greg J., & Magnusun, Katherine. “Investing in Preschool Programs.” The Journal of Economic Perspectives: A Journal of the American Economic Association (2013): 109-132. Web.
Molborn, Stefanie., Lawrence, Elizabeth., James-Hawkins, Laurie., & Fomby, Paula. “When do Socioeconomic Resources Matter Most in Early Childhood?” Advances in Life Course Research (2014): 55-59. Web.
Stockard, J. Harmful Effects of Academic Early Education? A Look at the Claims and Evidence. Eugene, Oregon: National Institute for Direct Instruction, 2015. Web.