Families are the Ultimate Preschool
Do you know what’s more important than preschool? Pre-pre-school! That’s where parents set the course of their child’s development. So much happens between birth and 3 or 4 years old, that it’s almost impossible for schools to “catch up” if those critical early years are not fulfilled.
In today’s New York Times, Clare Huntington writes a good op-ed, Help Families From Day 1, on the importance of pre-pre-school. She writes about the societal and political challenges we face as a nation.
“THE opening of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s universal pre-kindergarten program this week will give 53,000 children access to free, full-day pre-K in New York City, compared with 20,000 enrolled last year. This is well worth celebrating, and other cities and states should follow suit. But this investment in school preparation is not enough. If we want to close the income-based achievement gap, we need to begin much earlier.”
We started VersaMe based on fundamental research that she aptly summarizes:
“I don’t want to rain on the pre-K parade, but we can’t pretend that school preparation begins at age 4. Four is better than 5, but zero is far better than 4.”
The piece contains a lot of political commentary, but I would like to highlight one aspect that I agree with about raising kids. My family has moved around over the years and I couldn’t agree more that the community and neighborhood design are very important:
“Finally, land-use policies rarely prioritize building physical environments that facilitate simple but vital parent-child interactions, like going to a playground or the library.”
We had the fortune of living at Stanford University during the past year where the wonderful weather combined with an amazing community design was paradise for children. Our town home was tiny but we shared a communal play area with ~30 other families. The entire “courtyard” was fenced in and functioned as a large backyard for dozens of children who had numerous friends right outside our back door. My kids absolutely loved it!