In his State of the Union address Tuesday, President Obama proposed more government funding for Pre-K programs across the country. But what does that mean for kids, and how will they benefit?
For young kids, learning and playing with other children is of utmost importance.
"The socialization, the working in groups," said Noreen Boje, Ed. D., Rochester Childfirst Network.
It's what drove the President on Tuesday night, to say this:
"Tonight, I propose working with states to make high-quality pre-school available to every child in America."
"Instead of being behind the game, or steps behind when they enter school, we're closing that gap," Boje said.
The proposal would expand access to preschool education through increased subsidies. Already, education for about half the one to four-year-olds at Rochester Childfirst Network is paid through state or federal subsidies.
Those who oppose the expansion of early childhood education funding will point to the cost, and call it waste; but Boje says that's not the case. She says youth education is where the money belongs. For every one dollar we put into early childhood education, Boje says we get seven back.
"We have people that become gainfully employed. Less food stamps. Able to support their families, as well as higher graduation rates from high school. Those are all things that our community needs to become more viable."
The other widely-held theory about Pre-K is that it develops basic analytical and social skills. But what if you don't attend pre-school?
We asked you if pre-school is vitally important.
Nicole told us: "I love UPK... a full day of school with nothing prior would be a lot for most kids."
Gina disagreed: "I think spending time with your children and teaching values at home... is more important to having a successful adult life."
And Pete said simply: "Let kids be kids, before we kick them out the door!!"
"With all due respect who are able to do that, there are some things that a universal pre-kindergarten or a childcare that's high-quality offers children. Learning is not an adult giving information to a child, but rather what a child does with that information," Boje said.
The President is expected to push the expansion of Pre-K funding at some point this year.