The results speak for themselves. In 120 studies, it has been demonstrated that about 80% of children who participated in quality early learning programs outperformed those who did not.
Additionally, 84 such programs were evaluated to determine how much additional learning a child is likely to get when enrolled in preschool education. Average gain in the areas of language, mathematics and reading was about four months.
Children in general are developing their vocabularies significantly between three and five years of age (typically going from 900 to 2500 words), and their ability to form more complex sentences is growing. Keep in mind that by age six a child’s brain has developed to 95% of its eventual full size.
So those early preschool years are fertile ground for child education, and pre-kindergarten and other early learning programs can be highly effective in providing a head start to children who are able and willing to learn.
In 2005, a study by the National Institute for Early Education Research showed that over two thirds of four-year-old children were enrolled in a preschool. For three-year-olds, the enrollment rate was over 40%.
We live in a society that presents many other distractions to occupy the minds of our youngest children. It’s been shown that those under two spend an average of nearly an hour a day watching some kind of video medium but only about 23 minutes reading or being read to. Too much involvement in passive activity versus things that stimulate the mind can impede a child’s development. In fact, it’s recommended that those under two years old not watch any screen media at all.
That pervasiveness of non-participatory entertainment presents a temptation to the parent who wants a break from being involved with the child’s daily routine. But by making that easy choice, we’re depriving children of the interplay that helps them to develop their mental and social skills.
That’s one reason early learning programs are so important.