Starting education before school

March 18, 2008 4:22:46 PM PDT
In an Eyewitness News extra, we take a look at starting your kids' education even before they start school.Studies show the earlier they start, the better they do later in life.

Now, there is a program that teaches parents on how to teach their pre-schoolers.

Education reporter Art McFarland has the story.

Rachel Wint is being coached on how to play, constructively, with her 2-year-old son, Ethan.

"He's learning things he probably wouldn't have learned before, and he's getting a little bit more experience," she said.

Since September, Rachel has been part of the Parent-Child Home Program. It sends what are called home visitors into the homes of selected, low-income families, with books and games designed to help toddlers learn how to learn.

"Bringing the books and toys, it's fun," home visitor Anith Stevenson said. "It's learning while they're actually having fun."

"We believe that young children learn best through their parents," supervisor Jessica Dowshen said.

Three-year-old Brianna has caught on to the fun of learning through the games, books and guidance of her home visitor, and her mother can see the difference.

"She's more focused, she's more alert and she's more dedicated," parent Carol Prass said.

The program has been around for some 40 years, but a recent study found it can be very effective, and there are success stories.

Julian Gomez is an associate, corporate lawyer with one of the world's most respected firms. At age 32, he still remembers the benefits gained by he and his mother in the Parent-Child Home Program when he was only 2 years old.

"It fostered a bond between my mother and myself which continued throughout my childhood," he said. "And such that, education usually extended past the classroom doors and into my home."

"And if you enter school successful, the likelihood is you're going to stay in, and you're going to continue being successful," the program's Sarah Walzer said.

The program expects even more success in the years to come.

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