Early childhood education is one of the most important policy topics out there. Research has proven that the early years in childhood is a critical period for opportunity to develop a child’s full potential; as well as form academic, social, and cognitive skills that determine not only success in school but also their entire life (The White House). The right to a free, public education is guaranteed to all children in the United States. Early education is voluntary, and therefore some children are not given the opportunity to reach their full potential.
As a staffer of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, I believe that promoting and investing in effective and high quality education programs that are affordable is the most beneficial position on this topic. We stand by our mission on this issue and work to achieve a high-quality system of early childhood education (NAEYC).
First of all, is the research behind how important and critical learning is in early stages of life, as well as how it reflects outcomes later down the road. Throughout childhood, developing communication skills and capacities for learning support other critical improvements. Even before children enter grade school, weak academic skills are found to be associated with behavioral and attention problems (The National Academic Press, 124). Educational outcomes in adolescence can be traced back to academic skills attained years later when entering school. (The National Academic Press, 125) It is clear that early involvement with learning and development is very beneficial and affects many aspects of life. It does not predetermine our lives, but rather sets the stage for healthy development. What is learned early in life establishes a set of capabilities, orientations to the world, and expectations about how things and people will behave that affect how new experiences are selected and processed. (The National Academic Press, 90)
Various researchers have found that for each dollar spent on preschool, somewhere between four and eight dollars is saved in later social service costs to society (Johns Hopkins University, 3). It is a clear and worthy investment. The question lies in which preschool program is the most effective. Previous reviews of programs have focused on if they contributed to later success, but a few of them compared the programs on their effectiveness. A number of programs showed positive results continuing to the end of kindergarten and beyond, signifying that the preschool involvement had impacts aside from early exposure to academic content. (Johns Hopkins University, 37). Also, several programs had effects on oral language skills, which are emphasized in most preschools.
Of the 27 programs evaluated, six showed strong indication of effectiveness and five had moderate evidence of effectiveness. The results for these programs were on language, literacy and/or phonological awareness. For some of the studies the significant effects...