Pre-School for All!…?

I spend my summers as assistant pre-school teacher in a Montessori school and work in the day-care program after school-day hours.  I truly believe people underestimate the ability of children of this age.  Yes, they trip over nothing. All the time.  Yes, they cry when they are upset and can’t tell you why.  Yes, they sneeze in your face.  But they don’t know any better.  This is the age when students work on motor skills so they stop tripping over nothing.  They learn to communicate their feelings so they don’t have to cry in frustration when they are upset.  They learn hygiene and manners so they stop sneezing in your face, though I sometimes wish they could learn the whole hygiene thing a bit faster.  At this age children are learning so much so quickly I can’t imagine the effects of a strong pre-school program.

This article looks at the benefits of a “pre-school for all” program.  The article focuses on reviewing what a quality program will look like and whether or not that is beneficial for students.  The program in Boston shows the first large-scale expansion of a pre-school for all program so many other districts and officials are coming to observe it.  The program requires all teachers to have a masters degreee, something I’m not sure can actually show if they are a good teacher or not.  It’s one thing to get a degree in something, it’s another thing to actually be good at using what the degree taught you in the field.

The findings now are showing great success in the Boston schools are are showing great improvement in the students.  The teachers are held to high standards and are coached often.  So what could be wrong with this program? People are complaining that enough long-term research has not been done.  Does this type of program actually help students in the future or does the effect fade?  If the effects are fading is that due to the fact that the pre-school isn’t working or is it that the other teachers in elementary school just aren’t teaching their students to the same high standards as the pre-school?  The other main concern is the cost.  I understand that cost is everything and if you don’t have funding it’s really hard to run a program.  But if we take cost out of the picture.  Doesn’t every child deserve the highest quality education?  Why can’t we at least try to give it to them.  Bringing cost back in, wouldn’t it benefit our country in the long run if we had people who were better educated and could improve our country in the future.  The child who grows up to create a cure, or come up with a world-changing policy might not be receiving the boost they need from school and may never reach that potential.  Every parent wants a good education for their child.  Are we doing enough as a country to give it to them?

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