Archive for January 2006

Is funding the issue?

Whenever I have spoken with legislators and other government officials, I always get the story that funding is the reason that they do not invest in early childhood services. While I know that money is big part of the equation, I don't think it is the driving reason in many cases. In almost 30 years in the early childhood field, I have seen first-hand that most lawmakers lack the understanding and commitment to really invest in early childhood. It doesn't seem to matter that virtually all research studies indicate that in the long run we will save money by investing in early education. Unfortunately, in my state, there is still the mentality that if they don't fund early childhood services, mothers will be forced to "stay home and care for their own children, which is where they belong". Every year my state fails to qualify for millions of dollars in child care subsidies because they won't fund the matching small percent. While I think it is a richly rewarding experience for a child to be able to stay home with a parent, in 2006 it is an unrealistic expectation for many families. When early childhood services are not funded many children go without good early childhood training and support. Then when the child is in school, everyone cries "foul" because the child can't pass academic tests. Everyone cries even louder when the child can't control his/her behavior long enough to learn and allow others to learn. Everyone, especially lawmakers, need to understand how critical those early years are to the development of the person.

Funding, Funding.....

Numerous studies continue to show how important it is to invest in early childhood. Study and study has shown that the investment of resources in early childhood actually saves money on future support and intervention. Although behind the early childhood programs U.S. for many years, Great Britain has recent made grand steps to investing in children. Check out the article recently published in the New York Times:
Bravo to Great Britain for making a financial investment in the future. It is a bit disheartening when at this moment our government is cutting funding to early childhood.

Sequential Order of Skills

While attending the NAEYC conference recently in D.C., I was able to introduce many preschool teachers to the new POCET program that is a preschool organizational tool for preschool settings. I was again amazed (as mentioned in a previous post) that many preschool settings have not listed their preschool skills/guidelines in developmental order. That should be the first step in addressing the progress of individual children. I doubt a teacher can track a child without tracking skills in the order they should be introduced and supported. As mentioned earlier, I do think this is a problem with many core curriculum standards. They are listed randomly instead of in order of introduction. When tracking children, this order is essential.