The Key to Success is Nap Time?
We all receive advice when we are growing up about what will make us happy and successful. My mother used to tell me that if I “minded my p's and q's” I would be able to get a good job and support myself. I didn't really know what it meant at the time, but it ingrained in me the concept that there was some formula to the Promised Land. A new, long term study claims to have the answer. It's preschool!
The researchers from the University of Minnesota tracked and compared 1400 children for more than 25 years and found that finger-painting, and nap time is strong social medicine. The study shows, in general, that those who did their time in the trenches of pre-school got better jobs, had less drug abuse and fewer arrests than those who skipped the preschool grind. The money for this study comes from the U.S. taxpayers and was published in the journal Science. It says the students who started learning how to learn early in their lives showed that they did much better in grade school, then high school and even college. Those who missed the fun of coloring and interacting with the other children had weaker test results and more ended up dropping out.
One of the keys to this success for preschoolers, according to the researchers, is the development of social skills. The simple lesson of learning how to meet, talk to and engage friends is a real tool, they say, to building success later in life.
Here are some of the numbers from the study:
-80 percent of the preschool group finished high school versus 75 percent of the others
-Average adult income for a preschooler was about $1000 more a year than those who did not go to preschool
-Only 14 percent of the preschool group abused drugs, compared to 19 percent of the other
-15 percent of the preschools attended college, 11 percent of the non preschoolers went on to a university
Of course, there is a political undertone to this study and its findings. Those who favor more funding for early childhood education are loading their guns with this information and ready to fire it at Congress and many state legislatures. They say it's the best insurance for our children and will save money in the long run. Here in California, actor Rob Reiner led the charge to pass Proposition 10 back in 1998 which funded the California Children and Families Commission to support state preschools. But, now the $1 billion in state funding for the program is in jeopardy because of the states serious budget problem.
This study seems to show that Reiner and the others are right about preschool. The question might be who should pay to make sure the most children get a chance for some quality nap time and finger-painting.