Childhood is fleeting.
From birth to age 5, children develop rapidly. Years of research shows that every moment matters, as a variety of influences help shape the brain architecture.
The quality of early experiences makes a difference for better or worse. Children exposed to positive interactions and learning experiences designed to maximize the development of their growing brains are likelier to do well in many ways.
Children deprived of positive experiences can fall behind developmentally.
This is why support for high-quality prekindergarten is essential. Access to high-quality pre-k gives all children the opportunity to learn.
Early investments minimize the need for costly and difficult interventions meant to close the achievement gap in later years. Yet available public funds help only 50 percent of 3- and 4-year-olds in Centre County get access to programs that help them get a sound educational foundation.
High-quality prekindergarten strengthens our schools because every child who arrives in kindergarten ready to learn helps the classroom become a more effective place for the learning of all children.
The benefits accrue from kindergarten to 12th grade. There’s less need for grade repetitions and it reduces special education costs.
The foundations for the success of every child are laid in the first, critical years of life. When we invest in high-quality pre-k, we invest in a stronger Pennsylvania.
Earlier this year, a statewide effort called “Pre-K for PA” was launched to help spread the word about the benefits of high-quality pre-k.Visit www.prekforpa.org to learn more.
Bill Frantz, State College
The writer is State College chairman of the Pre-K for PA campaign.