I was saddened and alarmed by the narrow lens and comments posted in Thursday's Tribune Chronicle addressing early care and education. The title of the editorial was ''Take time with school regulation.''
I was astonished by the narrow reporting of one research project that has not had repeated results while the numerous duplicated research outcomes supporting the impact of high quality early care and education experiences were not even mentioned.
The Abecedarian Research Project implemented a high quality early childhood experience for preschool children while building in strong family engagement and support components. This research has longitudinally tracked participants and families for over 30 years demonstrating that a high quality early childhood educational experience have increased the living standards of the children, and has also increased crime prevention.
The Center on the Developing Child Harvard University has recently released data and longitudinal studies connecting high quality early childhood experiences to greater executive function gains in children birth to five. The greatest executive function growth for a person occurs during these crucial years of birth to five.
The Heckman group recently released a study supporting high quality early care and education that shows significant impact for all socio-economic groups of children, but particularly increases outcomes for children in lower socio-economic areas. Results of the research proved that high quality early childhood experiences prepare children to perform better in school, ensuring that they earn more money over the adult lifetime.
This study also showed that for every dollar invested in children in early care and education, the taxpayer sees a return of $13 in future expenditures for remediation and various other types of supports.
As Ohio moves forward with dollars from The Early Learning Challenge Grant focused on improving systems of delivery and improving the quality of care in Ohio across systems for young children, it is a tragedy that the editorial section is not used to educate the general public about what quality early care and education looks like and how the first five years of life for our youngest citizens is a time of crucial development that will have a lasting impact on their future.
Waiting until a child is five and the foundations have been poured and set can lead to irreversible structural damage. Our Mahoning Valley needs to embrace our youngest citizens and make the investment in children sooner rather than later. We should live in a Valley where high quality early care and education experiences are available for all families.
Quality early care and education experiences set a strong foundation to support the K-12 system of education. These young children are the Mahoning Valley's Future. I would suggest that we invest in a solid foundation.