To the Editor:
Barbara O’Brien’s Commentary “Getting Serious About Early Learning” (Oct. 10, 2012) raised many important points. There is much we in education can do to benefit young children and their families that does not cost huge amounts of money.
The learning can begin even earlier: Prenatal visits are an excellent time for doctors to discuss infant learning and stimulation. When the baby and mother go to well-baby visits, it is an optimal time to give out books and discuss the importance of nursery rhymes and early reading.
We educators know the importance of high-quality preschool. We can make sure the move from preschool to kindergarten is a seamless transition for children, with valuable information being shared between preschool and kindergarten teachers. Preschool and kindergarten teachers can sometimes attend the same professional-development programs. This leads to an understanding of what the curricula are in both preschool and kindergarten and how both programs can support young children and families.
Each step we take is so important. And, as always, educators are advocates for high-quality programs open to all income groups.
The writer is a former director of early education in the Berkeley, Calif., school district.
A version of this article appeared in the November 15, 2012 edition of Education Week as Improving Early Learning Needn’t Be Expensive