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Should Pre-School Be Free?

Preparing kids for school is important!

I sometimes write for a local publication about issues parents are facing in Connecticut. Recently free pre-school programs became the topic of interest.

And quickly turned into a hot button issue full of mudslinging. Some parents accusing supporters of the idea of being welfare leaches, and well… you can get where the debate went!

Alas, most parents support the idea across the board-which is a total relief as a parent myself. I would never want a child to go without because someone may have a personal hangup about something. Would you?

But it is not just an issue for parents in Connecticut! It is something parents all over the country should be thinking about, because of the important nature of pre-school!

Now, when I use the term pre-school, I am talking about an actual structured pre-school program kids ages 3 and up can attend to prepare for kindergarten the following year. I am not talking about free daycare under the word-doctoring of pre-school. Just to clarify that one before I got into it!

Even though a pre-school program didn’t really fit into our families budget this year, we made it happen for one of our sons because he will be going into Kindergarten the following school year, and I knew the benefits he would have by being enrolled for a year in a structured-playbased pre-school classroom.

It is clear every day he comes home from school that we made the right decision enrolling him.

In fact in June of 2011 the Chicago Sun Times covered a story about the benefits of pre-school impacting our children well into adulthood!  Yes, adulthood!  The study covered:

â—† 80 percent of the preschool group finished high school versus 75 percent of the others;

â—† Nearly 15 percent of the preschool group attended a four-year college, versus 11 percent of the others;

â—† 28 percent of the preschool group had skilled jobs requiring post-high school training versus 21 percent of the others;

â—† Average annual adult income for the preschool group was about $11,600 versus $10,800 for the others.

â—† 48 percent of the preschool group had been arrested in adulthood and 15 percent had been incarcerated, versus 54 percent of the others arrested and 21 percent incarcerated.

All of these things may seem like minor or simple differences to us as adults, but if adding one year to a public school education can make even just the slightest positive impact why not just go for it?

These pre-school programs are often part time. I know ours is three days a week for four hours a day. Just enough to teach structured play, social interaction, and of course show them a small preview of what they will be jumping into the following school year.

Education is the key to the future of our country, and in 2012 which is a big election year, why not start with our children? They are the future leaders of our country!  Not to get all political or anything I just think our kids are more important than some of the stuff America is currently throwing money at, and I am sure many of you agree!

So now… parents of toddlers, this is where I ask you… do you think that there should be some form of free pre-school programs available for children all over our country?

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