Investing in Preschool
Eric Westervelt writes on NPR: “How Investing in Preschool Beats the Stock Market, Hands Down”
If you got 13 percent back on your investments every year, you’d be pretty happy, right? Remember, the S&P 500, historically, has averaged about 7 percent when adjusted for inflation.
What if the investment is in children, and the return on investment not only makes economic sense but results in richer, fuller, healthier lives for the entire family?
The deeper research behind the article is a new paper “The Life-Cycle Benefits of an Influential Early Childhood Program”. The research shows that the annual return on an investment in comprehensive preschool education is 13 percent.
What Heckman shows in his research is that not only does preschool education benefit the lives and incomes of the children, it also creates “stronger, richer, fuller lives for the mothers of the children.” Because child care creates opportunities for mothers (and fathers) to continue to invest in their career experience and education.
“It promotes social mobility within — and across — generations.”
The costs of early childhood education are significant. The study started with kids in the 70’s — when dual working parents were less common, and the costs probably seemed even more daunting. The costs of the education examined in the study are $16,000 to $18,000 per year in a community that isn’t more expensive than Austin to live in. Magellan’s preschool program is, by comparison, a bargain — and it includes the internationally recognized educational approaches of a certified International Baccalaureate (IB) school.
Today, so many families are dual income, or single parent. Child care is a must. So most of us are really looking at the incremental cost between child care and a real education. For a family paying for full-time daycare or a full-time nanny, a first rate preschool is very economically viable because it eliminates or reduces those other expenses. And if you’re already paying for child care or day care — the incremental cost to get a true International Baccalaureate education in Austin is trivial.
Most who make this tradeoff never realize that there’s also a positive return in their own life — they’re own ability to invest in their career and family. Our own experience as parents with kids in rich primary school programs is born out in this research. We started our kids in the UT Lab School, at 18 months, and then transitioned to Magellan International School at 3 years, for the benefits of their more educational approach and language immersion program. Today, our kids constantly impress us with the way they interact with the world and the information at their fingertips — and they’re only 10 and 7.
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