What makes proper education has changed over the years, and that of Singapore follows with the rest of the world. Although the mandatory age for school is still six years old, more learning centres cater to kids below that.
Early childhood education now accounts for child care facilities and kindergartens where kids as young as 18 months follow certain programmes. The ages may be causing some parents concern: aren’t they too immature to start learning something?
It turns out a pre-school landscape can pay off a lot later in life, as many studies show.
How Early Education Helps Kids When They Grow Up
Singapore’s education system continues to undergo reformation, particularly when it comes to early childhood teaching.
The 2015 research in the International Journal of Child Care and Education Policy on changes in kindergarten education pointed out that newer studies continue to explain that the experiences of kids during their first few years are essential. Both academic and non-academic lessons “provide the foundation” for their learning and development later.
But what studies are there? Here are a few examples:
1. Kids Who Participate in Early Childhood Are Likely to Complete Their Degree
In 2018, the University of Minnesota researchers said that kids who participate in an intensive early childhood curriculum until the third grade may have a higher chance of attaining higher education in midlife.
For the research, the team followed at least 1,500 Chicago children from low-income families and tracked their progress from the time they started school in 1983 in child-parent centres (CPCs) until about 30 years later.
The analysis showed that CPC graduates completed more educational years than those who joined other programmes. This is even if they only finished preschool in the centre.
For kids who received the preschool intervention, CPC graduates were 15.7% more likely to obtain an associate’s degree, 11% bachelor’s degree, and 4.2% master’s degree.
Previous studies may explain these results. In a paper by Wertheimer and Croan in 2003, they cited that kids who start behind their peers, especially in school readiness, may eventually struggle with coping with the needs and demands of formal education.
Further, Cotton and Faires-Conklin said that there’s an association between early education and the children’s attitude towards learning and task orientation. The bottom line is, early childhood learning may equip the kids with both the hard and soft skills they need to manage the rigours of higher education.
2. Early Childhood Learning Can Lead to High Economic Returns
Although elementary and high school education is free in Singapore, early childhood isn’t. Sending a child for their nursery or kindergarten learning to an international school may be worth over S$15,000 annually.
According to the 2011 study by the University of Minnesota, these investments may eventually yield high economic gains. When they accounted for the annual return on the early childhood programme among low-income Chicago children, they learned that the society earned $11 for every $1 spent. That’s equivalent to nearly 20% return every year.
Many factors contribute to this. First, as mentioned, children who completed an early-years education may also likely obtain higher degrees later. Studies showed that in Singapore, a fresh university graduate could already earn as much as S$5,000 a month. The median income in the country is around S$4,500.
Meanwhile, according to PayScale, those who pursue a non-MBA master’s degree may take home over S$65,000 in annual salary. That can increase by at least S$40,000 if they have an MBA.
Brookings Institution also revealed that a person with a bachelor’s degree could contribute as much as $278,000 to their local economy through direct spending throughout their lifetime. The Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities said that bachelor’s degree holders are almost 25% more likely to be employed than those with only a high school diploma.
Moreover, these employed individuals can handle more complex jobs or roles that can speed up the productivity and growth of businesses. They, too, can benefit from these responsibilities through higher earnings and benefits, which they can spend to stir the economy further.
Lastly, those who receive higher education seem to be healthier than those who don’t work for many reasons:
- They can already get physical and mental support even when they’re in school.
- They may have more money to spend on better healthcare.
- These individuals are less worried about money.
- They can live in better neighbourhoods and have easier access to healthier food.
Sometimes parents are overwhelmed by the idea and cost of early education for children that they may consider getting it unnecessary. But the studies above showed that this provides excellent delayed rewards. It might be the answer to what parents look for.