It is an unfortunate truth in our society that some children live in poverty, even some right here in Southwest Florida. And while the effects of growing up in a household that lives below the poverty line can be devastating, these children are not destined for a less of fortunate future. There are actually ways to counteract their poverty, one of which is early education. Some researchers and policymakers have argued that high quality education and care programs that begin early in life have the potential to close gaps in school achievement that often exist between poor and minority children and their middle-class, mostly caucasian, counterparts. Below are some of the recent findings regarding the impact of early education:
Beginning school prepared is a key factor to success later in life. Studies examining the link between socioeconomics and school readiness have largely concluded that poor children are less likely than their more privileged peers to arrive at kindergarten ready to learn. Therefore these children start at a disadvantage and are unlikely to catch up to their classmates unless educational intervention programs are made available. Early education helps offset this initial disadvantage so they begin school on the same level as everyone else.
Better Test Scores
Well-designed early education programs produce long-term improvements in school success, including higher scores on standardized tests. Scoring well on these very important tests then lead to lower rates of grade repetition and less instances of being placed in special education or remedial classes. Typically, students that start out ahead stay ahead, and continue to college.
Early childhood is when a large portion of cognitive development is taking place. By cultivating the brain’s ability to learn during this time, early education makes a lifelong difference. Multiple meta-analyses conducted over the past few decades have found it produces an average immediate effect of about half a standard deviation on cognitive development. This is the equivalent of 7 or 8 points on an IQ test, or a move from the 30th to the 50th percentile for achievement test scores. To put this in perspective, this deviation is enough to reduce by half the school readiness gap between children in poverty and the national average.
Clearly, helping a family afford early childhood education for their child is a wonderful gift that will truly affect the rest of their life. Quality child care is expensive:
- One day of child care $30
- One week of child care $150
- One month of child care $650
- One full year of child care $7,500
ALL donor contributions are given to qualified families in need. Even a few dollars a month on a regular basis can make a huge difference in the lives of others. By donating to Child Care of Southwest Florida’s scholarship program, you will be helping build the future of a young child, a family and bolster the human capital resources within our community. The return on your investment is enormous. Please help our local Southwest Florida children and families by donating to the Gift of Education this year!