Archive for Thursday, September 6, 2007

Early childhood center needed

September 6, 2007

I just learned that some state lawmakers want to make kindergarten mandatory in the state of Kansas. (Ref: "State lawmakers advocate mandatory kindergarten" by Scott Rothschild, Lawrence Journal-World, Aug. 14, 2007). I didn't know it wasn't. Although my children are long past the kindergarten and preschool age, I never considered any other path than to give them as much education as I could afford for them at as early an age that could be offered.

I was a stay-at-home mom so that meant beginning once a week Mother's Day Out at ages 1 and 2, Preschool at age 3 two mornings a week, pre-kindergarten three mornings a week and, finally, half-day kindergarten at my local public school. All three of my children thrived and had a good, solid start from this early training.

Research shows unequivocally that early childhood education prepares children for their elementary school career that is very measurable. Early education is an indicator of a child's success in school. I would grant that there are children in families that do not receive this early training that may do just as well given a home environment that encourages learning and concentrates efforts on the child's progress, but I am a realist. In the world today, the best intentions of some parents still do not prepare their children for what lies ahead in their lives; just ask any kindergarten teacher.

Mandatory kindergarten in Kansas? I would even raise my own taxes to make it all day for our children in this state. I hope legislators in Kansas would feel the same way.

All of us should feel fortunate to live in a school district with professionals who understand the needs of children and have placed the question of building a new early childhood education center on this school bond issue ballot. They understand that this is a pressing need for our community and the children we desire to give an education that offers them every advantage and opportunity for success in their school years.

Please encourage voters to vote "yes" for our youngest children on the mail ballot; our community will thrive as well as our children with the addition of the Early Childhood Education Center in our school district.

For more information about the proposed center, the school district Web site, www.usd232.org, has excellent information and numerous ways to contact the district for questions.

Vicky Needham

Shawnee

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