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Preschool – You Get What You Can Pay For

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Preschool – You Get What You Can Pay For

Have you ever been somewhere before and thought to yourself, “Man, I didn’t know people were living this good!”  I grew up in a three bedroom house nestled in the curve of a cul-de- sac.  My sister and I had our own bedrooms.  Growing up every body’s house that we visited looked like ours, there were a few exceptions, but still nothing too out of the ordinary.  Until that is I reached high school.   My freshmen year my neighborhood was re-zoned.   Instead of attending the high school minutes from my house I was reassigned to another high school more than twenty minutes away.  A high school where I would be one of the few brown faces walking through the hallways and where many of the other students drove their parents hand me down Mercedes Benz and BMW. 
On one occasion my friend and I had to attend a meeting at a home of one of our classmates.  The used BMW should have been a clue as to what I was getting ready to experience, a clue I surely missed.  I was speechless when we rolled past houses big enough to cause echoes to holler out when you spoke or stepped across the floor.  There were sidewalks with enough space for people to walk shoulder to shoulder, and not just a curb for people to hop on quickly when cars came barreling through.  I was in a different world.  One that I didn’t even know existed. 
I often think about this experience when I hear debates about all children having access to a quality preschool.  A 2013 report from the Center for American Progress revealed that in 2011 more than half of African American children and 63 percent of Hispanic children ages 3 to 4 did not attend preschool.  When I was coming up kindergarten was all you needed to have a great academic start.  Not any more, especially since kindergarten is deemed by many the new first grade.  Now preschool is needed in order for children to prepare for kindergarten, as:
  • High-quality preschool programs have been shown to reduce the school readiness gap, especially for low-income children of color.
  • Children who attend a high-quality early learning program gain four months of learning, on average.
  • The highest-quality programs can produce up to a year of additional learning.
 All preschools are not made the same.  Preschools vary in class size, curriculum, qualifications of teachers and a plethora of activities offered.  A painful fact for any parent trying to give their child the best start possible and bluntly realized in the documentary Nursery University.   In this documentary three and four year olds, mostly from families of wealth, were offered swimming, yoga and tennis – with $20,000-$30,000 or more annual price tags.

We understand the importance of preschool.  All three of our children attended preschool, but that’s with us paying maybe 10% of the cost of an elite preschool.  It’s good to know that some preschool is always better than none.  Hopefully our children’s preschool experiences will help them one day reach a ‘different world’.


What do you think about preschool?


2 thoughts on “Preschool – You Get What You Can Pay For

    1. Thank you!! Did you see the Nursery University clip? It’s ridiculously unequal what some preschools cost AND what they offer!! Unless that is you’re the privileged one…

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