High-quality preschool education produces substantial long-term educational, social, and economic benefits (Barnett, 2004). However, children can only benefit from high-quality services if they are able to participate. Variability in state financial commitment to early childhood programs, differences in eligibility requirements, and overall issues of access to high-quality care vary widely, creating a large gap between the availability of affordable and accessible high-quality programs and the number of children and families who can access them (Olson, 2005).
While accessibility and affordability varies for individual families, the programs and practices that constitute quality share a substantive research base. For the first of two discussions this week, consider what you have learned about the vital role of high-quality programming, components that are associated with high-quality care and education, and why many families face challenges in terms of finding high-quality care and education programs.
After you have considered these factors:
By Day 2
- A summary of the benefits of high-quality programs for young children and their families
- At least three research-based components that contribute to quality programming
- Why access to affordable high-quality care can be such a challenge for so many families
- Your personal definition of quality as it relates to early childhood programs