Significance of Starting Early and Starting Well

This month, Dr. Nur Tanyel, Assistant Professor at University of South Carolina Upstate, shares about the importance of early childhood education and a new program available in Spartanburg to support it. 


Research in early childhood education consistently indicates that high quality early childhood programs provide significant benefits to children, to families and to society as a whole. Children who participate in high quality programs are less likely to repeat a grade, perform better on assessments of language, cognitive, social and emotional domains, require less special education, and are less likely to engage in criminal activities. Essentially, higher quality programs are the predictor of higher level academic, language, and memory skills as well as larger gains in cognitive and academic outcomes. Improvements in the quality of childcare programs are needed for long term benefits because these children are more likely to enter the work force and have higher incomes accompanied with taxes that they will pay back to the society.   In return, high quality programs benefits government budgets by saving on child welfare and criminal justice.

Sharon Kagan, a professor of early childhood and family policy at Columbia University, states that:

“This is a missed opportunity as early education can help ensure that all children get a strong start in life, especially those from low-income or disadvantaged homes.  Three strands of research combine to support the importance of the early years.  From neuro-scientific research we understand the vitality of early brain development; from social science research, we know that high quality programs improve children’s readiness for school and for life; and from economic research we know that high quality programs save society significant amounts of money overtime. Early childhood contributes to creating the kinds of workforce that are going to be needed in this century”. 

Quality early childhood programs and responsive professionals can fulfill the developmental needs of young children. Teachers who are more likely to receive specialized training provide more language stimulation, which in turn stimulate language and concept development as well as the development of cognition in young children preparing for school success.

In support of Spartanburg Achievement Movement and quality in early childhood programs USC Upstate School of Education launched Bachelor of Arts in Child Development and Family Studies Program beginning fall 2014.  This non-certification track program prepares students for professional work with young children ages between birth to six and families from diverse cultural, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds.