First Day, September, 2008
Last Day, August, 2011
Three years ago I didn't really have any expectations for what this day would be like. I didn't expect to have a son who was reading, doing addition and subtraction, and working on multiplication. It didn't occur to me that he would co
mmunicate in sign language or count to five in Arabic. And I really couldn't imagine that he would be able to go to the bathroom to wash his hands when he really wanted to join the circle at storytime.
Perhaps by coincidence, I've been hearing a lot about the science of early childhood education lately. A few months ago, Planet Money produced a podcast called The Case for Preschool, and last week Science magazine had a special issue called Investing in Early Education (sorry nerds, it's subscription only, but you can read the summaries). The rundown on what I've read and heard is that, more important than reading and math, preschool develops executive function, like self control and creative thinking that is critical for for success in school and in life.
The results of some of these studies are astonishing. Low income kids who got two hours of high-quality preschool per day were half as likely, 25 years later, to have been arrested than the control group. Two hours! These kids came from similar families and went to the same public schools. This agrees with other long-term studies that show that high-quality (and high quality is key) preschool produces long term benefits, and these benefits are most pronounced among the most disadvantaged kids. Although our bank account will appreciate not having to pay tuition any more, it turns out that investment in preschool is one of the most cost-effective interventions that we can make in the kids who need it most. It's something to remember when our school districts are cutting pre-K funding while building new baseball fields.
Christine and I are both profoundly grateful for Natanya, Emily, Cassandra, Caitlin, Kristin, Maxine, Jasmine, Monica, and Catherine, who have all nurtured Silas's growth with love and respect. He may not remember them all twenty years from now, but they have had a foundational impact on his life.
Sorry so wordy - here's another picture for your patience: