Between 2011 and 2013 54 percent of U.S. children ages three to four were not attending preschool, according to the most recent survey by Kids Count Data Center, an organization that provides data on child and family well-being across the country.
Furthermore, in Missouri, between 2011 and 2013, an estimated 56 percent of children age three to four were not in preschool — that’s 88,000 kids.
According to the Society for Research in Child Development, the benefits preschool has on children are numerous, from growth opportunities to social and emotional development, early development of language, literacy, math, cognitive skills and motor skills, nurturing of curiosity and so much more.
However, the high costs and limited accessibility of early childhood education programs in many areas across the country play a major role in preventing or discouraging parents from sending their children to preschool.
President Obama covered this issue during his 2013 State of the Union Address, echoing the importance of children starting education early and proposing to work with individual states on making high-quality preschool available to every child in America.
“In states that make it a priority to educate our youngest children… studies show students grow up more likely to read and do math at grade level, graduate high school, hold a job, form more stable families of their own. We know this works,” explained the President in a press release.
“Let’s do what works and make sure none of our children start the race of life already behind.”
There are several national organizations working with this very goal in mind: making preschool a possibility for all children. These groups include BUILD, Ready Nation, Every Child Matters, First Five Years Fund, Kids Count (as mentioned above), and many others.
In the fight for all children to have access to not only preschools, but quality preschools, an important element is making sure we are preparing qualified, exceptional educators to shape the minds of these young children.
William Woods University bachelors in elementary education students have the opportunity to obtain the Early Childhood Endorsement, which prepares them for education careers teaching from beginning of school to third grade.
Through the endorsement students will take courses like EDU 281: Early Childhood Principles and EDU 313: Early Childhood Program Management, where they will learn appropriate practices and early childhood teaching principles, supervision techniques, planning environments and evaluation procedures. The curriculum also includes 16 hours of classroom experience in a preschool through third-grade setting.