Thursday, April 08, 2010

Proactive Policies

I stopped last night for a quick trim of my bangs. The salon I use has a policy that they will trim their customers' bangs for free. Their reasoning is that they would rather spend two minutes trimming bangs than fifteen minutes fixing them after someone tries to trim them on their own.

My husband and I have been thrilled with our family's health insurance. All through both pregnancies all my appointments were free. With our oldest daughter this was a lot of appointments as they were concerned about the pregnancy and it even included an amniocentesis. All of it cost us nothing. Our daughters' regular appointments have also always been free. Again, the reasoning is that they don't want people to miss appointments because they can't afford them. The 'well baby' appointments are too important.

This all got me thinking about education (of course). We are not proactive in our public school system. I'm not sure this should all fall to the schools. I believe our society should be more proactive when it comes to children.

I look at my own daughters (who by no means have perfect parents) and think how lucky they are to have all they do. The exposure to books and language from day one, the time to visit museums, nature centers, science centers, and such, child care providers who are loving and knowledgeable about stimulating their minds and exercising their bodies, grandparents, aunts and uncles who lavish love and attention on them, etc., etc., etc. I feel the same way about my own childhood.

When I compare this to my students I feel sad. Not that they don't have parents who love them and do many things for them. They do. However, their parents often don't have the financial resources to offer their children some of this. They may work two or three jobs and not have the time to do these things. They may not have a car and therefore have limited options for getting around. Due to circumstances beyond their control these children don't have the opportunities for learning that my daughters do.

Why aren't we more proactive? Why do we wait until children are in elementary school before we begin supporting their learning and intellectual development? In the long run wouldn't it be cheaper (and better) if we started sooner?


Scott said...

Some interesting thoughts here, Jenny. I now better appreciate the local art museum that is free for kids (anyone under 18).

Launa Hall said...

Yep. I think about this a lot. Have you read Whatever it Takes, the profile of Geffrey Canada, whose Harlem Children's Zone attempts just that--reach children and their parents when they're REALLY young, then keep them on an education conveyor belt through college. It's an intriguing read.

Chantelle Driol said...

I definitely agree with you Jen! Investment into early childhood education (childcare, programming, health care, etc.) has an 8:1 return rate. It's sad that our childcare workers are so under-paid when we are trusting them with the most crucial years in a child's development. And worse yet, is that many parents can't even afford the under-paid childcare workers to provide even minimal standards of care and education. Thanks for sharing.