Research indicates that children enrolled in preschool and mother's day out programs are better equipped to handle the daily demands of school.
The National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University said in a report published in 2004 that "the national trend toward more preschool education could reduce educational inequality in the U.S."
Amanda Wicklum, of Evans, said she definitely sees the benefits of such programs. Her son Andrew, now a kindergartner at Greenbrier Elementary School, attended preschool in Thomson and at Greenbrier Day Care in Evans before entering kindergarten.
"Andrew just had a great jump-start on kindergarten," said Wicklum, who also is mother to 2-year-old Anna. "He was getting prepared for what was to come."
Wicklum said the educational benefits of the preschool program her son was enrolled in helped to give him a basic foundation to begin his education.
"When they are in a private home, they aren't getting the skills they need," she said. "I think a lot of time, they are just put in front of the TV."
Martinez mother Denise Coleman agreed that her daughter Lindsey, 4, benefited from her years in First Baptist Church of Evans' preschool program.
"I think she's definitely learned a lot in the past two years," said Coleman, who also has a 2-year-old daughter, Bethany. "I think she'll be better prepared for kindergarten and that she wouldn't be as far ahead as she is now if she were at home or in a day care."
Coleman gives the socialization aspect of such programs high marks.
"Lindsey looks forward to going and playing with the other kids," she said. "But she's also in a learning environment."
Coleman said her daughter asks every night if she has school the next day.
"That lets me know she looks forward to it," she said. "And where she is, she's growing spiritually, too."
According to the National Institute for Early Education Research report, the 3-year-olds attending preschool rose to 42 percent in 2002 from 5 percent in 1965. The participation of 4-year-olds increased from 16 to 67 percent during the same period.
In a 2000 publication titled Eager to Learn: Educating Our Preschoolers, the National Institute for Early Education Research stated, "While no single curriculum or pedagogical approach can be identified as best, children who attend well-planned, high-quality early childhood programs in which curriculum aims are specified and integrated across domains tend to learn more and are better prepared to master the complex demands of formal schooling."
Wicklum and Coleman agree. Both women said they plan to enroll their younger daughters in preschool programs when the time comes.
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