Board Of Directors
Why is High-Quality Early Education and After School so Important for Children and Families?
- 85% of who you are is developed by age 5. The human brain develops more rapidly between those years than during any other subsequent period.
- Children who attend high-quality preschool programs develop better language and social skills, and have fewer behavioral problems once they enter school. They have a 20% higher rate of high-school completion, a 42% lower rate of juvenile arrest for violent offense, a 41% reduction in special education placement, and a 52% reduction in abuse and neglect.
- Children from disadvantaged backgrounds (in which race, ethnicity, and socio-economic status play a role) start kindergarten with significantly lower cognitive skills than other children, sometimes two to three years behind their more affluent peers. These same disadvantaged children are then typically in low-resource, lower-quality schools, which magnify the initial inequality – they can never catch up.
- On average, children from “professional families” hear an average of 11 million words per year, while those in working class families hear 6 million words, and those in welfare families hear 3 million words. By kindergarten, a child from a welfare family could have heard 32 million words fewer than a classmate from a professional family.
- After-school programs provide a strong base for nurturing children’s literacy development and providing a variety of types of literacy experiences.
- Research shows that participation in after-school programs is positively associated with better school attendance, more positive attitude towards school work, higher aspirations for college, finer work habits, better interpersonal skills, reduced drop out rates, high quality homework completion, less time spent in unhealthy behaviors and improved grades.
In 2004, Cooper received the highest “stamp of approval” possible - from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) - for its commitment and dedication to high-quality early education. Cooper is one of only 7% of early childhood programs nationwide – and 29% within Massachusetts – which offers this highest-quality standard to its children and families.