Children’s Ability to Learn is Sacred
Every child is sacred and so also is his/her ability to learn. A baby learns to scream for attention and the parent may bring peace by nursing, rocking or singing softly. I remember my baby learning to smile and laugh after a few months engaging my attention. Then as he grew a little more, he said “”da”” before “”ma”” causing a bit of jealousy. My baby spent time observing his surroundings, and the people or animals nearby. He shook his toys. Gradually, he learned to roll over, sit up, and towards the end of his first year, he crawled (adorably), stood up and took a few steps. He comforted himself by sucking his thumb and rubbing his nose with his blankie.
As our baby became a toddler, his balance and walking became stronger. He played with more toys beside others. He ran around and sometimes got overtired, letting me know with a huge tantrum. He said more words, learned to climb out of his crib, and once he climbed out a window. I got really tired trying to keep him safe. But I was pleased to see him grow and become a significant family member.
His learning increased through his preschool years. He played with more complex toys, colored and drew, listened to music and played a simple instrument. His vocabulary increased a great deal. Sometimes he shared toys, and joined in a group experience, such as simple sports or activities in a circle. His tantrums decreased as he gained self-control. He attended 4-year-old preschool as well as kindergarten, and, thankfully was prepared to join in and learn to read and do arithmetic in first grade. I was in tears on first day he walked down the path to attend school.
There is a difference in opportunity between children from high-income families who can pay for preschool, and other appropriate activities, and those from low-income families who need subsidies. In Massachusetts 30,000 children are waiting for subsidized preschool slots. That is why Governor Patrick promoted preschool. There must be more than a million children waiting nationally. President Obama and Secretary Arni Duncan promote funding for preschools for all 4 year olds.
Research shows that most children who are reading proficiently by the end of third grade will finish high school. But 39% of Massachusetts’ third graders read below grade level. This includes 60% of low-income families. High-quality early education programs help to close this achievement gap between rich and poor, as well as reducing the need for ongoing tutoring, and improving high school graduation rates. Please support President Obama’s program for Early Education.