The Meaning of "High Quality" in Early Childhood Education

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By: J. Glenn Hopkins, President/CEO

In the February 1, 2014 issue of The Washington Post, writer Alfie Kohn laments that in talking about high quality universal preschool, policy-makers fail to explain what they mean by "high quality".
 
Many supporters of universal preschool define "high quality" as intensive, skills-based learning in preparation for future employment.  That is, as President Obama espoused in his 2013 State of the Union address, teaching children at the earliest possible age with the goal to "equip our citizens with the skills and training" they will need for success in the workplace.  
 
This push for early preparation of young people for the workplace is not new.  President Bush’s "No Child Left Behind" and President Obama’s "Race to the Top", combined with the much debated "Common Core" standards, are programs championed by the business community which needs well-trained and skilled workers in order to compete in the international marketplace.  Through universal preschool, this goal is extended to children who would be prepped as workers as they are potty trained.
 
In the absence of a clear definition of "high quality" in preschool, children are likely to be subjected to learning only those skills useful in the workplace.  But, what of those other skills essential to being a well-rounded and thoughtful human being, such as discovery and exploration, and play?  
 
At Hopkins House, we emphasize hands-on learning for children, literacy (i.e. storytelling and acting), and problem-solving.   We train our educators to develop and implement lesson plans around a curriculum centered on the child.  Children are encouraged to question, explore, and share their discoveries and thoughts.  
 
Our definition of "high quality" includes well-trained teachers, an intellectually nurturing learning environment, measurable learning outcomes, robust parent engagement, and safe, clean facilities.  Our goal is to prepare the Young Scholars enrolled at the Hopkins House Preschool Academy to take full advantage of the options that life presents.  While certainly we want them to be successful in their chosen careers, we think it equally important that they also be achievers in life.  
 

COMMENTS (4 Comments)

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J. Glenn Hopkins
Dear Parent, I love this picture too!
12:09 AM Mar 28th | Report abuse
 

J. Glenn Hopkins
Dear Ms. Franz, thank you so much for your kind words. It is so heart-warming to know that our efforts here at Hopkins House are appreciated by the parents of our students.
12:08 AM Mar 28th | Report abuse
 

Parent
Love the picture!!!
11:25 PM Mar 27th | Report abuse
 

Helen Franz
Thank you for this blog. This is why my husband and I love Hopkins House. We are always learning, along with our son. Hopkins House has helped our son tremendously and this why we know he is in a high quality daycare. I don't know any other daycare that has this kind of quality. Our son is reading, talking, and maturing beyond his 3 and half years. Thanks Hopkins House and your teachers!
11:24 PM Mar 27th | Report abuse