For Neal Cronkite — a teacher in Holt — and his wife, sending their two sons to Midway Early Learning Center was a carefully calculated, but well-made choice. “After touring the centers, we made a spreadsheet and color-coded it with pros and cons — yes, we are those people,” he said with a smile. After comparing costs, scheduling, education level of the teachers and other factors, they made their choice. “He is learning to solve problems with other kids, that he has to wait his turn, and to share,” Cronkite said, while discussing the increased socialization that he’s seen in his three-year-old son, Ian. “He also works everyday to learn new things like colors, shapes, letters, and the weather.
Eighty-five percent of a child’s brain development occurs before they enter kindergarten. Enrollment in early childhood education centers has been proven to increase a child’s chances of graduating high school, finding stable employment and decrease their chances of teen parenthood, crime and a need for welfare. According to a study put out by the Rauch Foundation, only 14 percent of public education funding is spent on early childhood education in the United States. Last year, Holt joined the ranks of the few early childhood learning centers in the U.S. and Michigan when they changed Midway Elementary into Midway Early Learning Center. Holt Public Schools Superintendent David Hornak said, “The beauty behind that is schools typically are closing gaps that are created from birth to five based on whatever circumstances.