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Your Opinion: Early childhood education programs beneficial

Your Opinion: Early childhood education programs beneficial

January 15th, 2013 by Betty Cooper, Jefferson City in News

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.