What Makes a Child Disadvantaged
Disadvantaged children tend to be slightly ignored when one thinks of education.
However, they are individuals just like any other child and they should be given the same opportunities that all children have. Poverty is a huge problem in many areas of the world. MacQueen states “poverty puts children behind from birth, and keeps them behind for life (2003).” If a child is in a household with little money, they may lack “the stable home in a safe neighbourhood, adequate nutrition, and the kind of involved parenting” that would be influential on the correct and desired development of the young child (MacQueen, 2003).
Children with handicaps, whether they are physical or mental, also fit into the category of disadvantaged children. These children do not, and will never, have the same opportunities as children who are so-called ‘normal.’ However, early childhood education programs “can effectively raise the intelligence of disadvantaged children, guide them toward better social adjustment and help them learn more in school” (Unknown, 1977, par. 1). Therefore, even if a student does experience a handicap, they may have a better chance at doing well in school and when they enter into a real societal working atmosphere.
Effects of Ea rly Childhood Education Programs
There is a great need for early childhood education programs in general; however, it is especially necessary to start learning as young as possible for disadvantaged children.
If, when born into a society like the one in which we live, a child has an automatic disadvantage then he needs to get started on social and other kinds of learning, so he can have a better chance at becoming an effective part of society. Some may believe that these children should stay with their parents at home longer. On the other hand, the programs can give the child an experience of “affect, sensation, wonder, and thinking…and his education should be a rich response to all of them” (Biber, 1984, p. 17). These experiences can hopefully spark a child’s interest in learning.
The effects of early childhood educational programs, both short and long-term, for all children are remarkable. Some assume that children with disabilities cannot get the full experience and that they cannot take advantage of those experiences that they would encounter in a preschool type program. On the other hand, a study done by Lamorey and Bricker found that “children with disabilities enrolled in integrated early childhood programs demonstrated higher lever of social play and more appropriate social interactions, and were more likely to initiate interactions with peers” (Diamond, 1994, par. 2). Gains in socialization and interaction with peers are just the beginning of the effects that these ‘early intervention’ type programs have on children (Smith, 1988, par. 1).
Even though some may believe that disadvantaged students may get socially abused in a preschool type program, the...