You’d think that no one would object to better education for young children. But especially as more funding has been dedicated to early childhood education initiatives, the topic has become a contentious one. Those opposed to this spending often distort information in ways that can discourage parents from taking advantage of the many benefits these programs can offer their children. Here’s some fact-checking on three of the most pervasive myths about early childhood education programs:
- Myth: Early Education Is Glorified Day Care
Truth: It’s true that many educational programs for young children look like play. That’s intentional; play is how children learn. But by carefully guiding this play, informed by the principles of childhood psychology, early ed experts can help children rapidly learn the most beneficial skills and information that will support them throughout the rest of their lives. The benefits of pre kindergarten and preschool programs are well documented. These children do better in school, achieve higher academic degrees, make better livings and have fewer run-ins with law enforcement than children who aren’t enrolled in early ed programs. It’s also worth noting that there are numerous educational philosophies used by different schools (KinderCare, Montessori and Waldorf are all popular ones), and each balances “play” and “academic” activities slightly differently.
- Myth: The Benefits of Early Education ‘Fade Out’
Truth: Some opponents point to studies showing that the benefits of Head Start programs disappear after the third grade to prove that early ed isn’t a worthy investment. But this “fade out” phenomenon, as it’s called, actually stems from the fact that some children who gain significant advantages while in preschool programs then enter sub-standard schools in the later grades. Preschool can’t immunize a child against the effects of bad public schools later in their educational careers.
- Myth: Early Education Is Too Expensive
Truth: Some people bring up a practical, rather than ideological, objection to early ed programs, saying they’re just too expensive. On an individual level, this simply isn’t true in most cases; there are many, many public programs that help parents manage the costs of preschool (or pay for it outright). And on a policy level, the evidence shows that spending money on early ed programs is a smart financial move. Studies show that the return on every dollar invested in early ed is somewhere between $7 and $13. One Pew study showed that not investing $10,000 per student in early ed ends up costing about $250,000 per student in the long run.
Are you looking for private preschools in Coconut Creek or the surrounding areas? Join the discussion in the comments and share what you’re hoping early education will do for your child.