Community view: Early education funding a plus for youngsters


By Allison Wheeler

As President Obama places an emphasis on early childhood education and targets funding for after- school programs as part of the economic recovery bill, parents and experts in San Diego will be pleased to see the added support for young children.

The investment in early learning programs will make a difference in how we prepare our children for their future. High-quality early childhood education programs are linked to the development of strong social, emotional and cognitive abilities.

Obama’s plan stresses the importance of early care and education, which is essential for kindergarten readiness. He has also pledged to provide federal challenge grants for states to use for these programs.

It’s gratifying to have the government recognize what parents and providers already know: that high-quality early education programs offer lasting benefits to kids and their communities. Early education and after-school programs stimulate young minds and offer them skills that will better equip them for school and their future.

In addition to creating jobs, the added funding will offer some of the neediest children the cognitive and emotional support that many of us take for granted. Closing the achievement gap between the poor and middle class prior to children entering school or in their primary elementary years is dependent on high-quality programs that are available to all.

Many of us have seen the positive effects that this early nurturing can promote. By developing visual and motor skills or encouraging self-expression and problem solving through preschool or after-school programs, we are fostering the growth and stimulation of young children and giving them a solid foundation for life.

Allison Wheeler is co-owner of KidzArt, San Diego, a drawing and art education program for children from preschoolers through teens. Go to