Decades of research have proven that quality, age-appropriate early childhood education (ECE) programs, especially during the first five years of life, have tremendous positive ripple effects in the lives of Americans. Yet, the country ranks as low as 28th in the world when it comes to access to ECE programs (commonly called preschool), according to the U.S. Department of Education. It’s an issue that the Obama administration is addressing with a new initiative, and the President called it “one of the best investments we can make as a nation.”
For this video story, I interviewed Brandman University faculty and other experts to discuss the importance of this renewed focus on ECE and why it matters.
Here’s the transcript of the story:
At a recent press conference at The White House, eight year old Elaysia had the opportunity of a lifetime.
“When I grow up I want to be The First Lady. All kids should get the chance to learn when they are little because it is so important. When you invest in me, you invest in us. And now I’m super excited to introduce The President of the United States, Barack Obama!”
She was selected to introduce President Obama as he announced a major new effort to boost early childhood education in The United States.
“Study after study shows that children who get a high quality early education earn more over their lifetimes than peers who don’t. They’re more likely to finish school. They’re less likely to go to prison. They’re more likely to hold a job. They’re more likely to start a stable family of their own.”
Brandman University has a thriving early childhood education program and we spoke with faculty and other experts about the importance of the president’s initiative and why early childhood education matters.
“I think the presidents initiative is phenomenal for early childhood education all the way around, for a very long time early childhood has been considered kind of like baby sitting but we now know that there are certain knowledge skills and dispositions that early childhood educators need to have to be effective and intentional with our young children.”
“Early childhood education has always been important people are now starting to figure that out. I think there’s just been a misconception that when they start school is when their life begins, their important life when they start learning, when we need to pay attention to them But really if we wait until then, for a lot of children that’s too late.”
“Their intelligence and their abilities are formed based on their experiences, the brain and the environment cannot be separated, it does not happen in a vacuum, so if you’re sitting a child in front of a television for eight hours a day they’re going to have a different result than if they’re interacting with people and having meaningful activities.”
“You think about bullying, you think about vandalism, you think about crime, we need to make sure that we have pro-social children that care about other people and know how to express that and see themselves as a person that can make a difference.”
“The earlier you get your child this opportunity to start learning and developing these skills, every outcome is greater in every measure thats been done.”
Brandman graduate student Mark Mokski is the director of Kids’ Club in Antioch California.
“One direct correlation from President Obama’s speeches is trickling down to the states, so Governor Brown has released the funding a little bit more than he has over the last couple of years, both last fiscal year and next fiscal year in his proposed budget he is recognizing early childhood.”
Greater attention to early childhood education means the demand for qualified professionals will continue to grow
“The federal government is now requiring lead teachers to have BA degrees and they want administrators to have Masters’ degrees so Brandman can fit right in with that protocol as the industry begins to change.”
“The whole idea that we’re offering and expanding the offerings of bachelors in early childhood and that we’re connecting that to the field of education is exciting and its critical because what we’ve learned is how important those early years are and all the skills and all the research, the things that as a teacher you need to know about to help young children develop – its a lot, it really is, so gone are the days when twelve units of early childhood is all anyone expected you to need to be working with young children.”
Our focus here is to provide high quality education to prepare early childhood educators, so specifically we want them to be intentional, we want them to be reflective, and we want them to be ethical professionals that take their job seriously.”
“We really strive to offer all the latest research, all the latest tools that are available, we’re integrating everything thats happening in the field such as the California ECE competencies; what’s great about Brandman is that if you want to, if you’re considering coming in but you don’t know if you can do it and you don’t know if you can afford it, you can come in and see the advisors and the advisors will work with you for years if necessary to help you get as many credits as possible at the community college before coming to Brandman and so then our program in ECE, you know, can take two years or less
For more information about early childhood education programs at Brandman University visit www.brandman.edu/education