How important is early childhood education?

According to one of the most famous studies on education in America, access to early childhood education impacts more than a child’s future GPA. The “High/Scope Perry Preschool Study” followed 123 children born into poverty between the years 1962 and 1967. The group was divided at random and 58 of the children were enrolled in a quality preschool program, while 65 received no preschool education. The children who attended preschool were more likely to graduate high school. Forty years later, researchers found they were also more likely to hold jobs and less likely to have committed crimes.

Twitter Chat: How important is early childhood education? | The Rundown | PBS NewsHour

Recently, Conflicting research has shown that, while children who attend preschool are ahead of their peers both academically and socially upon entering kindergarten, gains fade away by the end of the first grade.

How important is early childhood education? Could its impact last into adulthood? Can kids without access to quality preschool catch up? What role do parents play?

We addressed these questions in a Twitter chat Thursday. Maggie McGuire (@Scholastic) vice president of Scholastic’s Kids and Parents channels, shared her insights, along with guests from the National Institute for Early Education Research (@PreschoolToday) and the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (@CEELOorg). Read a transcript of the conversation below.

Twitter Chat: How important is early childhood education? | The Rundown | PBS NewsHour

Some other interesting news:

Expanding access to early childhood education a must for equal opportunity (guest column) |

Millions of 3- and 4-year-olds will begin preschool this week, but millions of others will not have the same opportunity to benefit from early education. Long-term studies have found that children who attend preschool are more likely to graduate from high school, attend a four-year college, and earn a higher salary. Preschool helps to fulfill education’s greatest ideal: All students, whether low-income or affluent, deserve the same chance to build a productive, fulfilling life.

We also know, however, that early education alone is not enough. Economic and environmental factors outside the classroom affect learning. A teacher can provide support and challenging curriculum, but if students live with instability or poverty at home, learning is likely to be impaired.

Policymakers at all levels should be asking how we can help students be ready for school. I’m proud of Oregon’s recent steps to bolster early education in the state, and I’m looking forward to doing my part to build on the progress.

Expanding access to early childhood education a must for equal opportunity (guest column) |

— I’m really not sure where I stand. It’s not about getting “quality” preschool education but really just a matter of getting early education. With that in mind, it doesn’t matter what kind of study was made, the fact is – some people are fast learners and some take more time to digest new information. And that’s exactly what the Montessori education is all about.

“Can kids without access to preschool catch up?” Of course they can. Just because you went to some preschool it doesn’t really mean you’re smarter than someone who didn’t. I find it really disturbing that people think this way. We all love to stereotype, it is pathetic.

To illustrate my point, here’s a good example: Better jobs usually favor Ivy League college graduates because other graduates aren’t even given the opportunity. Actual performance should never be based on the school. What makes someone a better banker than the other guy if they both have the same field of study and GPA? How do we choose from two people who both have PhD and recommendations from people we trust?

What am I really trying to say here? It’s not the school, but the child. We put our children to school so they can learn. Sadly, the quality of education for each school is different. This brings me back to the reason I strongly believe in the Montessori education system – Every Montessori school across the globe follows the same principles. We can rest assured that our children will get the same quality of education.

Montessori Preschool education is meant to develop a positive attitude towards learning, which somewhat guarantees they will always try to do their best to succeed in life later on.