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Early learning equals later successes

“Are tornadoes strong? Why are baby kangaroos called Joeys? What does exercise mean? How many millions of people live in the world?”

These questions are straight from the mouth of a babe, more specifically from the mouth of my 4-year-old daughter who, like most children her age, is an absolute sponge who is soaking up information from everywhere.

Each day she comes home from preschool at St. Lawrence Elementary with questions increasing in complexity, a larger vocabulary and a better understanding of the world around us. Anyone who thinks that preschool isn’t effective hasn’t spent enough time around children of this age who are attending these types of programs.

This shouldn’t be seen as a knock on daycares but instead a testimony to the impact of a focused educational program prior to kindergarten.

Study after study has revealed that early childhood education often translates directly into academic success later in life.

But you don’t have to be a statistician or an educator to see proof of this.

Just talk to my little girl or any other child in preschool.

Starting today, the Week of the Young Child is a national recognition by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, an organization whose goal, “is to focus public attention on the needs of young children and their families and to recognize the early childhood programs and services that meet those needs,” according to their official mission statements.

The Week of the Young Child was established in 1971, “recognizing that the early childhood years (birth through age 8) lay the foundation for children’s success in school and later life. The Week of the Young Child is a time to plan how we — as citizens of a community, of a state, and of a nation — will better meet the needs of all young children and their families.”

A variety of events across Lawrence County will illustrate this year’s theme that the “Early Years are Learning Years.”

Although this message may sound like common sense, it is surprising how many people don’t get it or, at least, fail to take advantage of the opportunities.

This week is a good time to see what is out there. Ten early childhood education centers across the county will offer a variety of activities.

So, if nothing else comes from the Week of the Young Child, hopefully more families will look at what they are doing to help prepare their children for school — and for life.

Answering all those questions from my older daughter can be exhausting, but it shows she is thinking and learning, a success that trumps mental fatigue any day of the week.


Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Tribune. To reach him, call (740) 532-1445 ext. 24 or by e-mail at mike.caldwell@irontontribune.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCaldwell_IT.