Path Home Shows 2009 Show Archive October 2009 Show 0941 Economics of Childcare 1

Economics of Childcare 1

Early childhood education is more than a social issue, it's an economic issue as well. We focus on the long-term benefits of investing in the first five years of a child's life.
Economics of Childcare 1


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Potts Family Foundation
Emerson Alternative High School

Show Dates

Show 0941: Economics of Childcare 1

Air date: October 11, 2009



Rob:  Early childhood education is more than a social issue it's an economic issue as well.  This week we focus on the long-term benefits of investing in those first five years of a child's life.  Did you know that one-third of Oklahoma's kindergarteners are not ready to start school on that very first day?  It's an issue that may seem minor, but as Quin Tran explains, children falling behind early on can lead to a lifetime of shortcomings.

Quin:  Emerson isn't a traditional high school in Oklahoma City.  The students who come here are teenagers and toddlers.

Ana Miano:  A big focus is to teach the parents how to be their children's first teacher.

Quin:  These parents are teen moms.  Emerson school is designed to help them stay in school, teach them parenting skills and assist with counseling and other needs.  While the moms are in class, their babies attend early head start.

Ana:  Well, early head start program is critical because, first of all, these are very at-risk children.  The interactions that they get here and education that they get here, is far superior to what they might be getting otherwise.  It's just a fantastic foundation.

Quin:  A foundation Noemi Billicana says she and her three year old son need.

Noemi Billicana:  I'm lucky to be here and have this opportunity.

Quin:  For the past three years she has made a commitment that has now paid off.  At seventeen she earned her high school diploma.  It's an achievement and she says an investment to benefit her son.

Noemi:  I want him to grow up and have everything for him.  I want him to learn from my mistakes.

Quin:  Educators say early childhood education yields high returns by helping young children develop and preparing them to learn.

Ramona Paul:  These are the kind of programs that help us not to ever have remediation.  So it's a major quality investment.  We can't ignore the brain research that we now have that tells us how important the development of the brain in these early years, and that we have the kind of stimulation and the quality program of what research over many years have taught us.

Quin:  Nina Gonzales heads the Tony Reyes Child Development Center in Oklahoma City.  Gonzales says all children have the potential to learn; it's up to grownups to foster the learning, inspire little ones to someday be leaders in careers that will build the state and care for its people.

Nina Gonzales:  The public, the private, you know everyone needs to jump on board and get this to make sure that the children of Oklahoma get a level playing field to start their education.  Every child deserves the best in early care and early education.

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