Dean Ginsberg Discusses the Importance of Early Childhood Education

Posted: May 2, 2013 at 5:02 am, Last Updated: May 3, 2013 at 6:28 am

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By Catherine Probst

Dean Mark Ginsberg

Dean Mark Ginsberg

Mark Ginsberg, dean of Mason’s College of Education and Human Development, spoke about the challenges of creating and sustaining high-quality, affordable and accessible early childhood education programs for all children at the annual Prince William County Education Summit on April 17.

This year’s summit, hosted by the Prince William Chamber of Commerce, focused on the importance of early childhood education as a foundation for school and life success. The event took place during the national celebration of the Week of the Young Child.

The annual education summit brings business and community leaders together to discuss the important place of education in the community and its relationship to the workforce development pipeline and draws on perspectives from both the academic and business communities.

In his keynote address, Ginsberg said he believes that “the early years are learning years.”

“From the moment they are born, children are constantly learning, and it is imperative that we take these years of early childhood to not only promote the importance of school and life success, but also provide them with a high-quality education,” Ginsberg said. “Early childhood should be considered an era of opportunity as children develop critical skills related to cognitive, physical, and social and emotional development.”

Ginsberg went on to discuss the universal benefits of high-quality early childhood education, particularly for children from impoverished families. Some of the benefits, both short-term and long-lasting, include higher rates of high school graduation, positive employment trends, increased earnings and reduced rates of crime.

These benefits, he noted, also help to narrow the achievement gap – a gap that widens with children who are African American, Hispanic, English language learners or economically disadvantaged.

According to Ginsberg, there is a growing consensus on the importance of early childhood education, specifically as a foundation for success later in life. A personal responsibility to act and invest in educational and developmental resources, he says, will allow today’s children to be the future of success.

Before Ginsberg shared his thoughts, the group heard from Dalena Kanouse, president and chief executive officer of Management & Training Consultants Inc. Kanouse used her own childhood experiences and learning struggles to highlight the importance of quality early childhood education. Stressing the idea that developing a qualified workforce begins at birth, she noted that taking the time to invest in valuable early childhood education programs would benefit society in the future.

Write to Colleen Kearney Rich at ckearney@gmu.edu

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