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January 07, 2009

Hard to Digest

I am sitting in my living room trying to digest comments made in our local paper.  The Minneapolis Star Tribune has been buzzing with several articles about Early Childhood Education and the impact it has on our economy.  One of the most recent is titled,  Kids not ready for kindergarten cost Minnesota schools $113 million a year.  As I read I am thinking, this is great!  Our voices are being heard; more and more business professionals, policymakers and researchers understand the financial support needed to prepare and support our youngest learners.  I have heard that language learners have to be exposed to a new word 150 times before it really sinks in and becomes mastered.  The more press coverage we are able to get the better, right?


Then, I get to the comments.  I don’t know where to start.  I am concerned for our neighbors that think that early childhood opportunities are a way for the government to abuse their power.  I am saddened that a child’s future and productive addition to our society is less important than an individual’s tax savings.  I am appalled that people blame parents but are not willing to fund or support programs that teach the whole family.  I am angry that a nation that promotes freedom and democracy would have arrogant individuals who punish 4 year olds for their parent’s lack of English skills. 


Here are my recommendations…

Take time meet with quality early childhood and family educators before deciding their job is glorified babysitting.


Observe a quality early childhood program.  Notice the ratio of academic to social/emotional learning that takes place. 


Think long and hard about the future – which path to you prefer?  Supporting pro-active programs like early childhood education or assisting adults who drop out, are criminals and/or on welfare? 


Spend time thinking of others – it makes most people feel good inside!


Remember, early childhood education is not a replacement for a family unit.  It is an opportunity to support and nurture future generations. 



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