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Letters to the Editor June 19, 2012

A good preschool education benefits kids later on in life

It breaks my heart that our state preschool budgets are being slashed (“Layoffs mean fewer pupils in preschools,” June 12).

The article says that nearly 100 children in our community will now be denied the chance to attend preschool. This tragedy will have a lasting impact on their lives and our schools.

We know that a good preschool boosts pre-reading, pre-writing, and pre-math skills for poor and middle class kids — as well as providing incredible advantages in terms of social skills, self-esteem, physical and mental health, and self-control.

As a parent, educator and advocate for early childhood education, I’m urging parents to work together to find solutions to this crisis. We’ve got to get every child ready for school — because the effects of poor preparation are life-long. I see them every day in the remedial English classes I teach at the community college.

Multiple studies have shown that poorly prepared kids have a very hard time catching up with their better-prepared peers — and everyone in the classroom suffers for it. Ask any kindergarten teacher.

Our best strategy for getting future high school students to graduate on time, healthy, happy, and armed with a plan for their lives — our most important investment in their future — is getting them a good preschool education now.

One bright spot is that Little School of the Redwoods is now offering scholarships for summer and fall sessions. Anyone can apply, even those in need who don’t qualify for other types of aid. Additionally, the Del Norte County Health Care District has generously contributed to student scholarships for kids with parents involved in the health care industry or studying for a job in a health-related field.

You can contact Little School of the Redwoods, Lisa Sedgwick, center director, at 464-4174, for a scholarship application. But scholarships at Little School can’t absorb all the need. My dream — a dream I hope you share — is to fill every preschool in this county. We can make more preschools if we need them. And we can offer enrichment activities for parents who prefer to give their little ones a great “homeschool advantage.”

All the children in this county should be in high-quality, outcomes-based early childhood education programs that prepare them for kindergarten. They deserve to grow up happy, healthy, and in love with learning. How can we work together to make this happen?

Ruth Rhodes

Crescent City

 

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