As I read President Obama’s State of the Union address, these words caught my attention:
“Research shows that one of the best investments we can make in a child’s life is high-quality early education.”
I couldn’t agree more with that statement.
It is incumbent upon all of us – school teachers, parents, guardians, mentors, public officials and yes, even Scout leaders – to help our young people get an early start on what they need to learn to meet life’s challenges. In Scouting, we call it being “Prepared. For Life.”
It is much easier said than done. Delivering a quality early education requires funding, persistence, commitment and the willingness to understand each child’s individual needs. As much as possible, each young person we take under our wing needs as much individual attention as we can provide.
At all levels of Scouting, we strive to educate as we provide outdoor adventures, leadership, service and just plain fun. Our ultimate goal is to help build the confidence and knowledge our young people need to be great contributors to their communities and in the end, keep our nation strong.
We can accomplish a great deal by helping young people learn the intricacies of science, technology, engineering and math at an early age and build upon that knowledge to teach others. We must help our children learn self-restraint and how to behave in a responsible manner. Young people need to learn how to work as a team to communicate and achieve common goals. These are lessons Scouting has taught for generations, which will continue to shape future generations.
Our approach in Scouting is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many youth-serving organizations across the country committed to making early education a priority, but there is always greater potential to grow and expand.
President Obama mentioned at the beginning of the State of the Union how America’s graduation rate is the highest it’s been in three decades. This is encouraging news, but there is much more we can all do early in the education process to push this rate significantly higher.
What steps are you taking to prioritize and strengthen early childhood education in your environments? Share your initiatives here so that we can all benefit and share these successes among our young people.