Research from the National Education Association shows that providing a quality education for children before they turn 5 yields significant long-term benefits.
Several national studies found that adults who were enrolled in a quality pre-school program ultimately earned up to $2,000 more per month than those who were not, according to the NEA. Also, people who were in pre-school programs are more likely to graduate from high school, to own homes, and have longer marriages.
With that in mind, we asked "How well do area pre-schools do in preparing children for a lifetime of education?"
Area pre-school officials, both public and private, believe their pre-kindergarten programs greatly enhance a child's development, better preparing them for the future.
Marshall County Schools Preschool Coordinator Connie Young said school officials there believe their Universal Pre-K program, which began more than a decade ago, continues to greatly enhance all areas of a child's development as they prepare for entry into kindergarten.
Young said the children learn and develop all the necessary skills in a variety of subjects including reading, math, social studies, sciences, as well as in the arts and computer skills. Young said school officials actually see great benefits for the students who attend the Universal Pre-K, giving them a variety of advantages in their pre-reading and pre-math - and especially in their socialization skills.
There are currently17 pre-kindergarten sites in Marshall County. Young said the program continues to grow each year as the district has recently added two new classes at Cameron Elementary and McNinch Elementary.
She said that Marshall County school officials and board members have had the "foresight and vision" in recognizing the continued need for more classroom space for the growing program in their county.
Ohio County Schools Student Services Director Kimberly Miller said she believes the Ohio County Universal Pre-K program establishes the foundation of its students' education critical for a lifetime of benefits, and continues to be a program with highly-qualified teachers and assistants who effectively deliver the state-approved curriculum and many other supplemental services.
Miller said the county's program enhances many of the student's skills in reading, writing, math, science and social studies - in an environment that young children truly enjoy, while establishing the foundation of their education.
Country Junction Pre-school/Daycare Director Lisa McCloskey said the Mount Olivet preschool offers a kindergarten readiness curriculum to its 4- and 5-year-old students that teaches them the skills necessary for elementary school and the years beyond.
McCloskey said nothing prepares a child for years of education more than an understanding of his or her own cognitive abilities and emotional needs. She said Country Junction Pre-school combines acceptance and recognition with encouragement to facilitate learning - and the students learn skills, concepts, attitudes, and values that are a vital part of their development as a person and a student.
McCloskey said Country Junction prides itself not only on academics, but also on the socialization skills the students learn.
She said the school also promotes a desire to learn that is carried with the student throughout their school years as well as adult life.
Montessori education also has many benefits. At the Montessori Children's Center in Bethlehem and Sikora Montessori School in Elm Grove, students are prepared for their lifetime of learning in four core areas: sensorial, practical life, math and language.