The following article was run in the Feb. 28, 2013 issue of The Whitetopper, written by guest writer Kaylan Brickey.
President Barack Obama declared in his 2013 State of the Union Address that all four-year-old children need to be offered a preschool program.
President Obama wants to create a spinoff of his “Race to the Top” initiative that is aimed at younger children.
This program is aimed at creating high school curriculums designed to prepare students for future jobs and provide support and incentives to states that want to follow through with Obama’s early childhood education proposal. The proposal includes adding a full day of kindergarten to the other 39 states, which currently offer half-day classes.
During his 2013 State of the Union Address, Obama said, “Tonight, I propose working with states to make high-quality prescho ol available to every single child in America. Every dollar we invest in high-quality early education can save more than seven dollars later on — by boosting graduation rates, reducing teen pregnancy, even reducing violent crime.”
“This is great,” said Linda Maiden, an Emory & Henry College education major. “Many children do not receive the beforehand education of a preschool program. This puts them initially behind the other children.”
The federally funded program “Head Start” is a preschool-based program. It originated in the 1960s for low-income children in need of school preparation.
The Head Start program has its own curriculum. According to the 2012-2013 Head Start Creative Council & Creative Curriculum handbook, “Literacy learning begins at birth, but too many children are not receiving a steady diet of rich language and literacy experiences. … Preschool teachers have from one to two years to address this gap. They have the power to give every child a solid foundation in language and literacy skills, and to inspire children to read and write to learn.”
Mandy Clark, a teacher at the McCready Head Start in Saltville, Va., said, “Strong language and literacy skills are essential for children’s success in school and in life. Children who do not learn the basic literacy skills by the end of primary school are at risk for school failure.”
Danielle Hunt of Saltville, Va., is a parent of a students in first grade and preschool.
Hunt said her oldest child attended the Head Start pre-school program.
She reported that he was able to do work without any trouble.
“His teacher said she was able to tell that he had attended a preschool with an effective instruction and literacy skills,” Hunt said.
She said her youngest child is currently enrolled in the same preschool program and will begin kindergarten in the fall.
“I feel that I made a good decision sending both of my children to preschool,” Hunt said. “I think they have benefitted greatly and will succeed in school because of early instruction in preschool.”