early childhood education Charly Triballeau/Stringer

El secreto del preescolar

BERKELEY – La educación preescolar de alta calidad es uno de los pocos temas donde coinciden personas de todos los estratos sociales y tendencias políticas. Pero el consenso sobre los beneficios (para los niños y para la sociedad) no se extiende al modo de suministrar y financiar el servicio. Felizmente, hoy se está experimentando con una inmensa variedad de modelos nuevos que pueden ayudarnos a definir la forma, el modo de financiación y el alcance de los futuros programas de educación temprana.

Para comprender lo que estos modelos buscan, es útil considerar sus bases científicas. Cada vez hay más pruebas de que los primeros años de vida son cruciales para el desarrollo del cerebro; en los primeros tres años, se crean de 700 a 1000 conexiones neurales nuevas por segundo. La cantidad de palabras que un niño oiga en ese tiempo crítico incidirá profundamente en sus futuras capacidades intelectuales.

Pero hay una gran diferencia entre la cantidad de palabras que oyen los hijos de padres profesionales y los de familias de clase trabajadora; en Estados Unidos es de tres millones de palabras al año. En los hogares de altos ingresos hay un promedio de 12 libros por cada niño, mientras que más de la mitad de las guarderías para niños de bajos recursos no tienen ni un solo libro.

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