Early education benefits everyone in your community

You may wonder, “Why does early education matter to me?” For those of us without a child under the age of five, pre-K may seem like a distant concept that doesn’t affect us very much. However, it turns out, a high quality early education benefits everyone in a community, not just young children and their families!  


A wise investment in positive outcomes 


High quality, accessible pre-K programs are a wise financial investment. The National Forum on Early Childhood Policy and Programs has found that high quality early childhood programs can yield a $4-$9 dollar return per $1 invested. This is calculated by looking at the return on investment, or ROI, a common performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency of investments. Early childhood programs cost money, but studies show that the benefits associated with the programs result in monetary gains and savings down the road. Early education helps to promote positive outcomes for children while reducing negative outcomes, leading to benefits for everyone in a community.  


Positive benefits for educators 


Educators in elementary, middle, and high schools also benefit from early education. Teachers notice that children who have participated in high quality pre-K programs enter kindergarten with skills such as knowing the correct way to hold a book, recognizing their written names, and following directions. They also have developed social skills that enable them to get along with their peers.  


One researcher in Pennsylvania surveyed kindergarten teachers about the academic and social performance of students who had participated in preschool and found that 83% of kindergarten teachers believed that preschool should be a regular part of public education due to its benefits. They felt that “preschool levels the playing field and gives students an academic and social advantage over their peers.” 


Positive benefits for families 


We know that children benefit from high quality pre-K, but what about other members of their families? Older siblings of pre-K students also see positive life outcomes, according to a decades-long study called “The Dynastic Benefits of Early Childhood Education.” Researchers were able to collect data on siblings who were up to five years older than the participants, and found surprisingly strong benefits for them as well. Siblings attained more education and higher earnings and had fewer negative outcomes.  


Parents and caregivers also benefit from high quality pre-K. Attendance at pre-K encourages a consistent schedule for children and their families. Caregivers have an opportunity to be involved in the child’s education and build relationships with their child’s teachers. They can also have peace of mind, knowing that their child is in a high quality and nurturing environment.  


A holistic view of pre-K 


It can be beneficial to take a step back and realize that the positive impacts of pre-K are felt throughout a community. Starting with the children, then their families, then their future educators, and finally their communities, everybody wins when high-quality accessible pre-K is available.   


About MECK Pre-K 


MECK Pre-K is open to all four-year-old children in Mecklenburg County at no cost to families. Classrooms are located in licensed childcare centers and taught by licensed teachers and highly qualified assistant teachers. You can apply online at MeckPreK.org.    


Do you have a child who is not old enough for pre-K this year? Sign up for our email list and be notified when they’re eligible for MECK Pre-K. Simply go to MECKPrek.org/future-meck-pre-k-students and select your child’s age group.