The Long-Run: How Early Learning Can Help Children and the Community

Parents of young kids often wonder about their children’s futures and what they can do to set them on the right track at a young age. That’s where early learning opportunities come into play.

“It is important that families have access to high-quality early learning experiences so their children have a great start and are prepared with the necessary tools for school,” said Crystal Givens, director of programs for Early Learning Indiana’s Child Care Answers program. “Those tools will help children to grow into responsible adults who will provide a positive contribution to society.”

The phrase “early learning” generally refers to the education of children from birth to age five and is used to reinforce the importance of experiences that help children develop academically and socially.

“Research shows that children who have high-quality early learning experiences are more likely to complete high school [and] go on to college, less likely to commit crimes and more likely to be productive citizens,” said Givens. “If children do not have access to quality programs they are less likely to possess the necessary social skills to cope with everyday situations; for instance, getting along well with others. A young child without practice in getting along well with others gets in trouble starting in kindergarten [and] becomes an adult who cannot get along well with others.”

La’ Toya Pitts, deputy director of Christamore House, said, “Early learning provides a foundation for children to be successful throughout their educational careers. Early learning plays a vital role in building confidence in young people so that they are equipped to deal with the various learning situations that they may encounter throughout the learning cycle.”

Pitts added, “Early learning builds confidence, confidence leads to success, success leads to change – and our communities are begging for change. We need change to happen so that our community can succeed.”

Read more on Indy With Kids.

The Monster We Created

By Danielle Guerin
This past week, I had the privilege to attend the Senate Committee on Education and Career Development.  My original plan was to attend in support of HB 1423 Antibullying, but since it was last on the schedule I had the joy to listen HB 1381 be argued.
HB 1381 has to do with public transfers. A school corporation has to set the amount of transfers they will accept and the date to when they will accept them. It also says they can’t deny a transfer except for capacity. This last part, where they could not deny transfers, was pretty contentious. One after one, school principles and head of school corporations came up to talk about why they opposed it. The number one reason they gave was because it would affect their graduation rates.
These leaders of schools were worried that students, who normally didn’t do well in school or were at a low performing school, would want to transfer to their school and not graduate on time. When asked, what they meant by on time, they answered 4 years. Nowhere in our laws does it require students to graduate after 4 years, it does affect the graduation rate after that, but that’s it.
These school leaders also hit on the issue of funding. They didn’t have enough funding to give extra attention to the struggling students or hire more teachers. I think someone should tell them that funding follows the students. These are public schools, which mean taxpayers pay for them so they should be able to send their child to any school they choose.
This conversation went round and round, until one senator got up and walked away clearly frustrated at these leaders. I was frustrated too. When did graduation rates become more important than the success of our students? Why are our school leaders actively trying to keep low performing students out of high performing schools? If the environment isn’t right for them to succeed, shouldn’t we encourage them to find the right one?
The environment that has been created in education today needs to be changed. We should encourage schools to stop worrying about their rates and funding and just worry about the students and their needs. Hopefully soon, something will change but I’m not holding my breath.
I’m happy to say that HB 1381 passed the committee 10-2, with an amendment and will now go to the Senate Floor. I will follow this bill and hopefully you will, to ensure that students have a choice.