Education Editorial: Preschool

By: Bill Bosher - email

Education classes have frequently included discussions of homogenous and heterogeneous groups.  The first is a class with young people who have many characteristics in common. The second, of course, is a class with a broad range of characteristics.

In reality, the only truly homogeneous class that I have ever seen consists of one student. When you have two, there are differences. Young people do not come to school with the same preparation… readiness. Some can read and others are not able to recognize colors. Some can count and others do not recognize numbers.

Perhaps the best predictor of success in school, more than ability or drive, is to have parents who value an education. Reading to your children, telling stories, and playing games help young people to get ready for school. More importantly, early childhood preparation helps young people get ready for the rest of their lives.

Dr. James Heckman, Nobel laureate in economics, says that birth to five is the most important time in the educational life of a child. If you start "behind" it is very difficult to catch up…especially if others are moving as well. Education reform has focused on skills and content for school-age children but has given very little focus to early childhood development. Attributed to St Francis Xavier is the quote, "give me a child until he is seven, and I will give you the man".

While pre-school literally means the years prior to enrolling in "formal" education, it may have a greater impact on post-school lives and careers than the journey in the middle. Maybe we should pay more attention to it!

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