High Quality Preschool Term Paper

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High Quality Preschool

Fellow citizens, why do you turn and scrape every stone to gather wealth, and take so little care of your children, to whom one day you must relinquish it all?" - Socrates

In an average year in America, about 3.9 million women give birth (Hodgkinson, 2003). And according to the U.S. Census 2000, there were at that time about 15.4 million children under age 5 living in the United States. The need to prepare these millions of children for a good education and a good life is critical.

With roughly 15,4 million children approaching - or already at - preschool age, and the fact that 47% live with a single working mom (Hodgkinson, 2003) taken into consideration, the need for infant and child care for preschool children is great, and growing every day. Of the 3.8 million three-year-olds in 1999, thirty percent were taken care of by their parents by themselves, 25% by relatives, and 45% by "center-based" programs (Head Start, daycare centers, preschools, pre-kindergartens, and nursery schools). High Quality preschool programs are needed not only to care for children while mother is at work, but they are needed to offer substantial long-term benefits such as higher graduation rates, fewer dropouts, more productive young people in the workplace readying themselves for the pivotal process of raising healthy families.

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Purpose of this Study: This research is needed first of all to assess the need for good preschool facilities (based on the population and parental dynamics), second of all to assess the present quality of preschool opportunities, and thirdly, to point to the positive results to children, families, and the nation, when successful preschool programs are in place and a diversity of children have an opportunity to avail themselves of those educational resources.

Term Paper on High Quality Preschool Assignment

Theoretical Framework: Good information on the need for and availability of quality preschool facilities is available through research of journals, empirical studies, and investigative journalism and scholarship. Solid information is also available on how some professionals are solving problems - and innovating where possible using existing resources - within the preschool genre in order to help children and families get the most out of their educational experiences.

Hypothesis: The task of preparing young ones for early childhood education used to fall into the sturdy hands of families; but in the last 40-50 years, more and more families have become two-come households, to make ends meet. This has facilitated the need for parents to place their preschool-age youngsters in learning centers, day care centers, and elsewhere - and in doing so, parents have had to place their trust in the hands or others for the vital care and development of their children. If excellent preschool learning centers are in abundance, America benefits because families benefit; if they are not, the nation is at risk. That is the essence of this report.

Importance of this Study: Children are important to their families and to the future success of America as a nation, hence, any valid research into their opportunities for present learning leading to future success is important.

Scope of the Study: This research will encompass the most pertinent literature available regarding what high-quality preschool can provide to children now and in their adult lives.

Definition of Terms:

Chapter 2 - Review of the Literature

Some Background Problems and Issues Affecting Children Under Five: "Leaving Too Many Children Behind" is the title of a report by the Institute for Educational Leadership; it is a study that offers some very interesting facts and figures regarding American families and their children. Initially, the author points out that "no structure exists in the United States to serve all children before their fifth birthday," albeit this represents the "most vulnerable period in terms of the forces that can hinder or promote social, psychological, and intellectual development."

Waiting until kindergarten to get a handle on these forces is "simply too late, because," the author continues, at the age of five children are "thrust into a huge system of 15,000 school districts, 95,000 schools, over 2 million teachers..." In order to assure that children have a fighting chance to reach their potential later in their school experience and beyond, "a formal preschool structure is essential," the author explains.

Meanwhile, as to the question of how well-rooted geographically American families with young children are, the research - edited by Harold L. Hodgkinson - based on the Statistical Abstract of the United States, 2002, shows that of the 281+ million people who live in the U.S., "43 million move each year," which is the highest "known migration" of any nation.

What that means is that 22% of the 15.4 million children under age five "move to a different house" annually (low-income children move more often than middle-income children); and providing quality preschool services with a high level of transience is problematic, Hodgkinson explains. As to the poverty issue, 16.9% of all children in 2000 the U.S. were poor, and one in every six children, Hodgkinson continues, lives with at least one parent who was born outside the borders of the United States. Children of immigrant families "are much more likely to be poor, to have problems speaking English, and to have "educational development issues," the Hodgkinson report asserts.

When reviewing the startling percentage of children who are transient and poor in Hodgkinson's material, it's a good thing Head Start is there for a lot of these children. Head State provides services to promote "healthy intellectual, social, and emotional development," which was a "radical idea in 1965," but seems "obvious" in 2003, when Hodgkinson completed this study. "Early Head Start" serves more than 55,000 children nationwide, albeit "only perhaps 5% of eligible children are being reached."

How Many Children are Presently Utilizing Preschool Services? According to research in a publication put out by Urban Institute ("Many Young Children Spend Long Hours in Child Care"), based on data provided through the 2002 National Survey of America's Families (NSAF), 42% of children under the age of 5 - whose mothers are employed - spent at least 35 hours per week in some form of child care facility in 2002 (the exact same numbers as in 1997). Another 19.9% of children (with mothers working) were enrolled in care for 15-34 hours, and 16.5% were only in child care facilities 1 to 14 hours per week. That leaves 21.6% of children who spent no time at all in child care arrangements.

Also, about 50% of children (with employed mothers) ages 3-4 were enrolled in "full-time child care," contrasted with 38% of children under age 3. And the article concludes with the thought that because such "a large percentage of children under age 5" spend long hours in child care each week, "these findings emphasize how important a role child care plays in the lives of America's Families" (Capizzano & Main, 2005). Indeed, the authors assert, recent verifiable research on early childhood development indicates "that children's activities can profoundly affect their later academic and social outcomes." That said, it is also important to note that "many children receive substandard care" - circumstances based on National Research Council data, the authors report.

Proven Benefits of Early Childhood Interventions: While it is vitally important to give a full picture of current early childhood education issues and realities, however, for purposes of this research, it is not enough to catalog what is currently in need of fixing with reference to preschool issues and children. It is, in addition, pivotal to point to the benefits of existing quality preschool arrangements, such as are shown in a recent study by the RAND Corporation.

There is increasing recognition that the "first few years of a child's life," the RAND study begins ("Proven Benefits of Early Childhood Interventions"), "are a particularly sensitive period in the process of development, laying a foundation in childhood and beyond for cognitive functioning; behavioral, social, and self-regulatory capacities; and physical health."

RAND studied 20 preschool programs (that provided "development services" from the prenatal period up to kindergarten), and found that 19 of those "demonstrated favorable effects on child outcomes." Fifteen of the 19 "were judged to have a 'strong' evidence base because they measured outcomes at the time of kindergarten entry or beyond."

The three general categories of these 19 programs are: a) those that provided parent education "and other family supports through home visiting" or services in other settings such as healthcare or classroom child-care centers). Included in the first category: "DARE to be YOU"; "Developmentally Supportive Care: Newborn Individualized"; "HIPPY (Home Instruction Program for Preschool Youngsters) USA"; "Incredible Years"; "Nurse-Family Partnership Program"; "Parents as Teachers"; "Project CARE (Carolina Approach to Responsive Education) - without early childhood education"; and "Reach Out and Read."

Included in the second category, b) - those that offered "early childhood education, typically in a center-based setting, for one or two years prior to school entry" - were: "Carolina Abecedarian Project"; "Chicago Child-Prevent Centers"; "Early Head Start"; "Early Training Project"; "Head Start"; "High/Scope Perry Preschool Project"; "Houston Parent-child Development… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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