This I Believe

Tara - Durham, North Carolina
Entered on June 20, 2006

As a 19 year old sophomore college student, I operated an in-home daycare out of my apartment to help put myself through school. I had six full-time children in my home from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm and it didn’t take me long to realize that I was in a little over my head. I charged low prices to guarantee I would get children and four out of my six children were minorities. I’m sure they liked me, but the real reason they were there was because I was only charging $60 a week to watch there child all day Monday thru Friday. We were all benefiting, I was paying my bills, and they were saving money. Of course, the children were not benefiting. I was not giving then the early education they needed or deserved. A majority of them were below the level they should have been at when they came to my center and they were below the level when they left. Now that I no longer run the daycare I constantly think about those children. Not only do I wonder if they are finally getting the education they deserve, but I regret the times I cared for them and neglected to provide the curriculum they needed.

I believe in Head Start. Head start provides preschool children from low-income families with an education program to meet all of there needs, not just educational, but their social, health, and psychological needs. Every child deserves the chance to receive the same education every other child does. Birth to five years old is the most vital time for a child to learn. A child’s knowledge of the alphabet in kindergarten is the biggest predictor of the child’s reading level at age 10. It is essential that children are prepped and ready when they begin school at age five.

I believe that our children are our future. Every child from all cultural groups and economic groups has the right to any tool that will assist them in succeeding in whatever they pursue. Early childhood education is not a privilege, it is a right! Head Start, with the correct funds, has the ability to give each child and family the resources they need. Head start is locally administered by community-based not profit organizations and school systems. The programs are not everywhere. This was not yet available in the area of my Daycare center which was located in the state capital. The children’s parents waited eagerly for programs like this to be available for their children. Nation wide, more attention needs to be put towards these programs. Our children need help, and I believe they should be first priority.