The controversial debate over a bill aimed at improving preschool in South Dakota has a lot of people talking. You can find Early Learning Advisory Committees in 48 states. But a local lawmaker said it would push socialism in South Dakota. A lobbyist said early childhood education hurts families.
Florence Thompson went on to say it grooms children to be gay or transgender and has even led to a national surgeon shortage.
Ultimately, the Department of Education opposed the plan because of the cost and lawmakers voted along party lines to kill the bill. After seeing the debate on the news, we’ve heard from educators who want to set the record straight.
Jamie Hovden has been a preschool teacher at Austin Elementary in Vermillion for seven years.
“In the beginning of the year we start out with learning expectations, so how we can work together in a group and how we can cooperate, but after those are established, the sky is the limit, I have 3 or 4 of these kids that are reading already, we start with exposure to letters and sounds,” preschool teacher, Jamie Hovden said.
The skills they learn in this classroom are beneficial for their futures in academics.
“What we expect from kids in kindergarten now is so much different than we expected 5 or 10 years ago, so anything we can do early on when their brains are so susceptible to learning is huge,” Hovden said.
Dr. Kari Oyen is a nationally certified school psychologist. She says early childhood education allows students to be successful long term.
“I think more importantly it helps children to learn how to cope with those everyday demands of the school environment and so we know so many positive outcomes related to early childhood education,” nationally certified school psychologist, licensed SD psychologist, immediate past president SD Association of School Psychologists, Dr. Kari Oyen said.
And says it’s important for researched-based practices for early childhood education.
“There’s been a lot of research taking a look at our investments in early childhood education and what kind of return on investment that we get,” Oyen said.
“The things they can do are incredible if they are just exposed in their practice and are given a safe, quality environment to do it, is such a big opportunity for us and worth the investment,” Hovden said.