Opinion: Early childhood education should be state priority

If we know that 90 percent of a child’s brain develops in the first five years of life, then why don’t we as a society and community put more emphasis on early child development? The foundations created during those first 60 months are crucial to a child’s learning and success over a lifetime. If we want to prepare our children for school and life, we must make sure they all have equal access to quality early experiences that help them develop the strong skills they will need to prosper over the course of a lifetime.
We need to focus on a better early childhood system in Vermont so our kids can take full advantage of learning opportunities later in life. We need to strive to foster healthy, creative, ambitious, lifelong learners in our youngest citizens.
H.270 — a bill requiring all school districts in Vermont to provide pre-kindergarten education to children ages three through five — is exactly what we need to get more Vermont kids prepared to succeed in school. H.270 would require that all pre-K programs be highly rated in Vermont’s STep Ahead Recognition System (STARS), or accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. This standard ensures children are in quality settings that meet their needs for healthy brain development, including social, emotional and cognitive abilities. Please urge your legislators to vote for this important bill to pass.
Giving our children — our future leaders — every opportunity to succeed is in the best interest of us all.
Ashley Bessette
New Haven

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