- Sponsorship -

Early Learning Means Advantages for Children, Communities

The benefits of a quality early childhood education are many in terms of preparing students for later grades. According to Byron Center Early Childhood Director Melissa Thomas, this includes exposure to new information during the first four years of life, when brain development is highest; access to a loving, structured environment at pre-school; opportunity to develop social skills; and have time away from parents to develop independence.

In addition, more learning expectations have been added to the pre-school classroom, she explained, increasing the need for all children to have access to early learning.  Academics are emphasized more than in past years because research shows children can learn and do more than we used to expect. Plus, there are more academics in pre-school because schools have recently adopted the state adopted Common Core Curriculum Standards, according to Thomas.

Making a difference

According to statistics from the Michigan Department of Education, research shows students attending the state-funded Great Start Readiness Pre-school program did better throughout their academic careers, had lower drop-out rates, had higher incomes as adults and avoided run-ins with the law far more than children who didn’t attend pre-school.

A 2006 study of Missouri children who participated in Parents as Teachers (used throughout Kent ISD) and other early childhood experiences found differences in school achievement. Among the findings:

  • 82 percent of poor children who participated in PAT and preschool entered kindergarten ready to learn, compared to 64 percent who had no such services, as assessed by teachers using a School Entry Profile; the difference among more affluent children was 93 percent to 81 percent.
  • In third grade, 88 percent of poor children with PAT and preschool services met performance benchmarks in the Missouri Assessment Program Communication Arts test, compared to 77 percent who had neither service; among more affluent children the difference was 97 percent to 93 percent
  • The study found PAT parents read more often to their children and were more likely to enroll them in preschool

Source: Parents as Teachers National Center    www.parentsasteachers.org

 Still, about 2,900 Kent County 4-year-olds don’t have access to publicly funded programs, said Erin McGovern, Kent ISD early childhood

- Sponsorship -
Charles Honey
Charles Honey
Charles Honey is editor-in-chief of SNN, and covers Rockford and Grand Rapids. As a reporter for The Grand Rapids Press/mLive from 1985 to 2009, his beats included Grand Rapids Public Schools, local colleges and education issues. Honey served as editor of The Press’ award-winning Religion section for 15 years and its columnist for 20. His freelance articles have appeared in Christianity Today, Religion News Service and Faith & Leadership magazine. Read Charles' full bio or email Charles.


Bus drivers work as daytime cleaners during pandemic

It’s also a plus to have familiar faces around school...

What kind of school bus doesn’t need gas or batteries?

A new/old way to get to school is saving money and having a positive effect on students and families...

Superheroes, jungle explorers, Cinderella join virtual kindergarten lessons

As an all-virtual kindergarten teacher at Stoney Creek Elementary, Tiffany Imhoff is constantly adapting and tweaking her lessons to keep her students engaged and learning...

Making masks more fun

A face mask tie-dying activity teaches East Oakview developmental kindergartners teamwork and patience while also supporting a very local business...


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Fourth-grader’s pickle stand inspired by school marketplace

‘With my tiny fingers, I am good at stuffing them,’ said the young pickle peddler. ‘You can see how they are packed in, so you get more for the money’...

Spreading out in the great outdoors

Outdoor education mid-pandemic is proving to be a welcome and successful alternative to indoor, masked learning in Byron Center this fall...

Plotting for a plot

Students’ hand-drawn maps are meant for the safekeeping of memories and to spur ideas for when they write personal narratives...
- Sponsorship -


Engagement: The Most Important Measure of Student Success

Polls find that students’ engagement in their school work declines as they ascend the grades. Tests that don’t relate to their real-life experiences exacerbate the problem...


Food ‘angels’ support hungry kids through pandemic

They work all across Kent County, guardian angels with peanut butter on their hands and crumbs on their shirtsleeves...
- Sponsorship -


Maranda Where You LiveWGVU