Law students develop their skills to a high level, conducting their own research, debating viewpoints, and continuously refining their written, verbal, and non-verbal communication. Everyone starts their legal education from a different skill level in these areas. Chances are, if you’re a law student with existing strengths in these areas, they will help you to excel.
When young children are exposed to early education, the social skills they develop (e.g. listening, expressing ideas, sharing, taking responsibility, improving attention spans) continue with them throughout their educational and professional years. They may perform better in grade school, setting them up with positive study habits that help them through high school and post-secondary education, which could ultimately help them get into a top law school.
And when children are exposed to a learning environment at a young age, their perception is not that school isn’t fun or interesting, but that it’s filled with exciting new environments, friends, and experiences. They tend to view learning differently, prompting an enthusiasm for lifelong learning.
Does this sound like you? Some students experience the benefits from an early childhood education, however not all children have access to one.
The Nation Must Do More for Our Children
Children truly are our future and if we do not invest in them, we will not reap the many benefits that come from raising successful and productive adults. Congress recognized this in March of 2018 when the two sides of the aisle came together to pass a two-year funding increase to the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). It was funding that was desperately needed then, and is still today.
This program gives states the necessary resources to reach out to low-income families and provide them with high-quality child care. It also provides early education centers with the funds needed to improve their facilities. These were measures that were started in 2014, and have been improved upon to help those centers, and the children within them, even more. The child care these centers provide is crucial. It comes at a time when the minds of children are in early stages of development, and can set them up for life in a very beneficial way.
While the work Congress has done is a positive step forward, there is still more to do. It has been about eighteen months since Congress increased funding and still so many eligible families are not receiving the high-quality child care they should. It’s estimated that it costs parents around the country approximately $8.3 billion in lost annual wages. Because they cannot afford the proper care, they stay home to care for their children themselves, foregoing a wage in the meantime.
This begins a vicious cycle, as the parents cannot afford early education and are forced to stay home, putting early education even further out of reach. Fortunately, Congress has stated just recently that they are in favor of increasing funding for this program once again.
It is not difficult to see that this is where our money should be going. Children truly are our future and if we do not set them up properly from the very beginning, we are really just setting them up to fail. With so many benefits of early childhood education, it is difficult to understand any arguments against increased funding.
Let’s discuss those benefits in more detail.
Improved Social Skills
When children are exposed to early education, they become more adaptable in social situations. They learn how to interact with other children their own age, as well as the adults who care for them. Social skills are about more than simply learning how to make friends. These skills are important and teach children how to listen to others, express their own ideas, share and cooperate, and take responsibility for their actions.
Early education centers and schools are an ideal place for children to develop these skills, and continue on with them throughout the rest of their educational years. They are skills children can take with them later in life, and use in workplace situations and in their personal life.
Better Academic Performance
Many people think preschool is the same as daycare, and a place where parents drop their kids off so they can go to work. However, there is so much learning and development that takes place within a preschool setting. Children who receive early education are more likely to perform better in grade school and do not have as much need for special education programs.* These schools often prepare the child with a physical, mental, emotional, and social development, which stays with them throughout their lives.
Preschool sets the stage for education beyond elementary school. Better grades in elementary school can set a student up with effective and efficient study habits, which can help them through high school and post-secondary education. It may even help students get into a profession, such as law, by helping them get into law school.
Sharper Attention Spans
It is believed that children exposed to early education have better attention spans. There is a lot to pay attention to in a preschool setting. Children must remain sharp in order to keep up with the pace of activity and learning taking place. At such a young age, that is easier to do than it is later in life.
The fact that there is so much new stimulus in early education settings also helps improve children’s attention span. They are constantly looking at and searching for new things, all the while still engaging in group tasks, following directions, and working independently. These are crucial skills that help them perform better in later schooling and ultimately get a better job.
An Eagerness for Lifelong Learning
When children are exposed to something engaging at an early age, they are more likely to chase after it. When they are exposed to a learning environment, it instills them an enthusiasm for lifelong learning. Children begin to equate learning with new environments, new friends, and new experiences. They view it as an opportunity.
This is very difficult to achieve when children are not exposed to early education. Before they even start school they hear stories of how boring it is, how hard some subjects are, and that school is simply not fun. They perceive that learning is not fun. This is a difficult perception to shake and it is one many children take throughout their years in education.
Exposing children to early education can help make them view learning differently. As they move through the rest of their schooling years and into a profession, they again take a perception with them. As a professional they become members of industry associations, such as the state bar, and continue to improve upon their skills and expand on their knowledge. This makes them more successful in their profession, which is really the goal, after all.
Future Steps for Congress
Multiple members of Congress have recognized the need for providing high-quality early education to every family in the country. It is not something for the elite but should be provided to all children. Members from both sides of the aisle have already started embarking on “Dear Colleague” letters in support of increasing funding to the program.
In the coming weeks, Congress will make a decision on whether or not to provide funding. They will also be making similar decisions on a number of other federal programs. It is essential for Congress not to let the issue of funding for the program slip through the cracks among the many discussions held during session. The country’s children are simply too valuable, and the country owes every single one of them a right to early education.
*Information can be referenced on the National Education Association’s Early Childhood Education page.
About the Author
Tamar (Tammy) Begun graduated from Catholic University Columbus School of Law and began her legal career as a law clerk to Honorable L. Leonard Rubin. She is a member of many different bar associations including the Montgomery County Bar Association, the Frederick County Bar Association, and the Maryland State Bar Association. Practicing as a divorce and family law attorney at the Capital Family Law Group in our nation’s capital, she has many certifications. Ms. Begun is a certified mediator, certified in collaborative law, and certified as a Best Interest Attorney for minor children. She is dedicated to helping families work through their legal disputes and is as passionate about that as she is aggressive.