Four million children enter kindergarten each fall. The first day of school is nothing short of monumental. In fact, your parents probably commemorated this special day with a photo of you standing with your giant backpack and an apprehensive smile. You may remember nervously boarding the school bus, or perhaps you recall watching your younger sibling embark on their very first day of school.
There’s a good reason for all of these memories: This is a huge milestone in a young life. But it’s far from the start of a child’s educational journey.
From infancy to kindergarten, children undergo an unimaginable amount of growth and development. By the time they’ve walked through the doors of their kindergarten classroom, their brain has already developed 90 percent of its capacity. And early childhood education is a significant contributor to that.
But what is early childhood education, exactly? How does it set children up for a successful life both in and out of the classroom? And what are the repercussions of its absence?