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.
By CELESTE BOTT
Capital News Service
LANSING – A $130 million initiative for pre-kindergarten education is in the early stages of development, according to the Department of Education. The initiative calls for more funding for the Great Start Readiness Program, which provides state aid to public school districts and charter schools for pre-K programs.
Through Great Start Readiness, intermediate school districts receive grants to provide preschool education for 4-year-old children from low-income families. Making early childhood education more of a priority is absolutely crucial, according to Michael Flanagan, the state superintendent of public instruction. “This is the most important thing we’re working on right now, planning this budget extension for 4-year-olds,” Flanagan said. “We need to get kids on the right track as early as possible.