Your Opinion: Early childhood education programs beneficial

Dear Editor:

I read the Jan. 11 News Tribune article: “Senator seeks state funding for preschools.” It was inspirited to find lawmakers recognize the need for early educational experiences. With money appropriated, all preschool students ages 3-5 can have a qualitative relationship-building program that focuses on learning through play experiences.

The second part created concern with the words — “would pay for lower income students in some schools.” During my decades of teaching human and child development classes, a constant complaint was how our “poverty education programs” harm all children.

I recall a lengthy research paper an elementary counselor in one of my classes wrote, titled: “Harm to Children and Called ‘Education.’” A mother told about how her son, who had attended Head Start was labeled “the poverty kid” when he started first grade. She said, in her district, the children from Head Start were “looked down on.”

In the mid-1900s, Missouri had premier educational programs. B.W. Robinson was assistant commissioner of Education; he, along with Mildred Winter, the Early Childhood Education director provided weekend educational workshops; these were experiences with premier educators and practitioners. Many educators considered the experiences “highlights” in their educational career. 

Integrated in these Early Childhood Caring programs was parenting education that provided skill-building exercises. These programs not only enhanced my teaching abilities, but also improved my personal and family life.

I am grateful for Missouri’s qualitative educaional programs, developed by visionary leaders. 

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