Earlier this week, USA Today, ran an article entitled "Expansion in pre-k programs curtailed in recession". This saddened us for several reasons. The article states that one quarter of all 4 year olds and one half of all three year olds attend no preschool programs. This can make it difficult for students entering kindergarten to catch up with the other students that did attend preschool.
Low income families face tough decisions when public preschool programs are cut. They can not afford a private preschool program and by the time they return home from work in the evening, it can be hard to teach a child vital skills needed for school. The children are not as receptive to learning when it is almost bedtime and the parents are mentally and/or physically drained after putting in a day at work. This is why some children begin kindergarten an estimated 18 months or more behind their peers. It can be difficult, if not impossible for the child to catch up.
When a recession hits, there must be cuts made. We understand this, but why punish the smallest citizens? In roughly the 2009-2010 season is when cuts to pre-k began. We need to turn around this cycle! We need to provide for the kids of the pre-k age. There are many vital skills that are learned in preschool, it is not all about play. When you walk into a classroom and see the kids "playing" pizza shop in the dramatic play area, they are not just playing. They are learning vital life skills such as: taking turns, role playing, buttoning aprons onto themselves, reading a menu, writing an order, following the necessary steps to put together a pizza, accepting payment for food, counting out change, manners and etiquette. When you look into a classroom, look past the noise; look past the running around; look at what is really going on. Everything that a child does in a classroom, is a learning experience for them.
We understand that kids can learn at home, but it is hard, if not impossible for a working family to teach a child all that a preschool can. A typical home does not have a variety of cultures in one room; a variety of beliefs in one room or a magnitude of endless ideas in one room. When you send a child to a quality preschool program, that is what you are getting. The teachers are trained to recognize what your child needs to learn, they are trained to teach your child reading, writing, arithmetic and so much more. It is time for us to stand up for Kids!
Kids Matter - Invest Early, Invest Often.