According to a 2011 study by Harvard economist Raj Chetty, students who attend quality kindergartens are more likely to go on to college, to earn more as adults, and save for retirement as adults. This is why quality early childhood education is a smart investment for Arizona.
As an educator for over twenty years I have witnessed how quality early childhood education can make a difference in a child’s life. Additionally, children who come to kindergarten already having the basic understandings of print, the ability to use writing utensils correctly, and other preschool skills are capable of learning at an even more accelerated rate compared to those who do not come to kindergarten with these skills. It is known that children experience rapid growth of their frontal lobes between the ages of 3 and 6. This rapid growth allows a level of knowledge that is not replicated at any other stage of learning. This is why it is so critical to engage children in early literacy and early formal educational experiences.
Attending a quality kindergarten program helps students learn how to learn, how to focus on activities and how to make connections in learning. Researchers believe that quality early childhood education is a smart investment. If Arizona wants to invest in their future, quality early childhood programs would provide the highest return on that investment.
Dr. Christine Wagner is currently a Self-Contained Gifted Kindergarten teacher in PVUSD. She has over 20 years of teaching experience from kindergarten to the university level. Dr. Wagner holds a Dual Bachelor's Degree in Elementary and Special Education, a Master's Degree in Administration, and a Doctoral Degree in Curriculum and Instruction. She also has certificates in English as a Second Language and Gifted Education. Dr. Wagner is passionate about early childhood education, as well as education for foster children. She has been married for over 20 years and has three children, one of whom was a foster child.