We are trying something new. Check out the first episode of our new podcast, Good Schools for All. This week, we start from the beginning and talk with Ida Rose Florez, executive director of the Elementary Institute of Science, about the challenge of early childhood education.

The podcast is an idea we hatched months ago with Laura Kohn, executive director of the Education Synergy Alliance. And now she’s co-hosting it with me.

We hope to have some fun, do some interviews that will make us all think and highlight not only what we need to work on in San Diego, but programs and educators that are excelling.

For the first show, however, we started with the infants.

A child’s first five years help define his or her ability to learn throughout the rest of their life. When children learn well at an early age, it lays down patterns in their brain that will continue to be repeated throughout their life, allowing them to learn more and more. This is why that time of life is so important.

Professor James J. Heckman recently published results that at-risk children who don’t get high-quality early childhood experiences are 25 percent more likely to drop out of school, 40 percent more likely to become teen parents and 60 percent less likely to attend college.

Not only is this time pivotal in a child’s life, but the average cost of education between ages 0-5 is actually nearly the same as the amount spent on a child’s college education. Parents of preschool-aged children are often caught off guard by the expense.

San Diego, and California in general, has done a lot to make federal aid available to the lowest income-bracket, but there are significant financial challenges to those upper-low-income and middle-range families that are looking to give their children the best possible start, and to make sure that there isn’t an achievement gap when children begin kindergarten.

Number of the Week:

$359: What San Diego County is investing in each 0-, 1- and 2-year-old child. In contrast, we’re investing over $9,400 in every school-age child, 6-12.

What Is Working:

Educational enrichment systems: a nonprofit provider of preschool and other early childhood programs for 1,100 kids across San Diego County, serving as a network of preschools.

Subscribe to Good Schools for All on iTunes or get the RSS feed hereStream it here.

Scott Lewis oversees Voice of San Diego’s operations, website and daily functions as Editor in Chief. He also writes about local politics, where he frequently...

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