Why Early Childhood Education Matters

By: Mollie Shauger | Friday, May 24, 2019 | Child Care

A child care worker helps a young boy with writing

Whether in the form of child care, preschool, pre-kindergarten or nursery school, early learning programs help nurture a child’s cognitive, physical, social and emotional development, while preparing them for elementary school.

“Education between ages 0-5 is crucial because a child’s whole outlook on education is formed during this time. It’s a time they can explore freely without the fear of getting something wrong but learning how to do it in their own way,” says Jessica Malas, director of the Early Childhood Learning Center at the Wayne YMCA.

Studies have shown that the earlier children are exposed to a variety of experiences through play, reading and writing, art, technology and more, they tend to do better in school throughout their lifetimes, have higher I.Q. and test scores, and attain more levels of education. Experts have also indicated that early learning can lead to higher incomes, more job placement, less crime and can help close the achievement gap between students of different socioeconomic backgrounds.

School districts save money by needing less remedial and special education support.

Researchers have found that early learning curriculums that incorporate nutrition and health can contribute to better physical and mental health throughout one’s life, such as a reduced risk for chronic diseases.

All these academic, social and health benefits can lead to less crime, experts say, making society safer and saving taxpayer money.

Early Childhood Education Statistics

Here’s a look at some of the impacts of early childhood education, by the numbers:

85 percent of the brain develops during a person’s first three years of life. During those years, children are beginning to explore the world around them. They’re learning how to move, think, communicate, form relationships and behave.   

$143,000 is how much more one highly cited study, The Carolina Abecedarian Project, estimated children who participated in an early curriculum were to make over their lifetimes.

$133,000 is what the same study estimated the mothers of the children would earn over their lifetimes.

$2.50 - Taxpayers saved this much per dollar as a result of higher incomes, less need for educational and government services, and reduced healthcare costs, according to the project.

7 to 10 percent is, according to Nobel-prize winning economist, James J. Heckman, the annual rate of return for investments in quality early childhood development for disadvantaged children. That’s due to better outcomes in education, health, sociability, economic productivity, and reduced crime.

Find out more information about early childhood learning programs offered through the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges.



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