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Investments for Future:
Early Childhood Development and

Education

Hülya KARTAL*

Abstract
Investments relevant to the first years of life are directly connected to the future of

societies. It can be argued that investments for early childhood development and

education are one of the best ways of decreasing social inequality caused by adver-

se environments which hinder development in early ages and tackling poverty by re-

ducing the rate of infant and child deaths, increasing the attendance rate to school,

decreasing the rate of failure and drop-out rates in schools and the percentage of cri-

me rates. In this article, the effects of alternative early childhood education programs

on children and their parents were investigated. These programs were developed as

an alternative to institutional programs, had lesser costs, intended to support chil-

dren who carried developmental risks by providing them with education, health, and

nutrition/nourishment. These programs were supported by the World Bank in deve-

loping countries.

Key Words

Early childhood Development and Education, Early Childhood Education Prog-

rams end Effects, Dealing with Impoverishment, Social Improvement.

© 2007 E¤itim Dan›flmanl›¤› ve Araflt›rmalar› ‹letiflim Hizmetleri Tic. Ltd. fiti.

* Correspondence: Hülya KARTAL, University of Uludag, Faculty of Education Department of Ele-
mentary Education 16090 Görükle, Bursa- Turkey. E-mail: [email protected]

Educational Sciences: Theory & Practice

7 (1) • January 2007 • 543-554

Human wealth education can be seen as an investment for the for-
mation of personality. It is also described as a process of forming in-
tended behaviors, a crucial factor for the national economy and so-
cial development.

When the “Education for all Committee” met in Amman in 1996,

it was stated that formal education age was too late for a child to

start education. Basic education must begin with birth because le-
arning in early ages forms the basis of learning in later years. Major

developmental theories indicate that a child completes a great deal

of her/his development until s/he begins school. So formal educati-
on age is too late to deal with the learning needs of children; con-
sequently, early childhood care and developmental programs have

to be focused on.

Many studies in recent years showed that being well nourished, he-
althy, and cared for in her/his early ages of life are very important

for a child’s physical, mental, and social development. As a result of

better school performance, fewer criminal behaviors, better health

care, proper nourishment, and proper environments, there is a grea-
ter possibility of raising more socially harmonious people.

Early childhood development and education services are interven-
tions that aim to support 0-8 aged children’s development (i.e., cog-
nitive, physical, emotional, and social), provide them with healthy

and adequate development, protect, give learning opportunities,

develop their own self-sufficiency, and help them in interactions

with society in which they live. On the other hand, such programs

also aim at informing parents about relevant new knowledge and

skills about child care, development, and education.

The services mentioned are conducted by early childhood care and

educational institutions that serve in different ways such as day ca-
re centers, kindergartens, or primary schools as full or prime time

programs in many countries. When the early intervention programs

are examined, it is observed that these programs are generally ba-
sed on home visits, institution-centered early childhood programs,

institution-centered programs in primary school structure, child-pa-
rent centered programs, and health care services.

When the results related to studies carried out to determine the ef-
fects of early childhood programs, the effects of these programs on

544 • EDUCATIONAL SCIENCES: THEORY & PRACTICE

children and parents can be summarized as in the following:

Programs have many positive effects on children’s cognitive deve-
lopment and school achievement, learning motivation in the sense

of social and emotional sufficiency; reduce in children’s behaviors

toward crime and percentage of arrestment; care for children’s nut-
rition and increase their immunity level.

Programs also have positive effects on decrease of the percentage of

mothers’ pregnancy and mothers’ positive attitude towards preg-
nancy; increase in the quality of mother-child interaction and dec-
rease in percentage of mothers’ maltreatment of children; increase

in mothers’ completion of their education and graduation from high

school; increase in percentage of mothers that have a job and dec-
rease in percentage of mothers’ behavioral disorder-directed crime

and addiction of alcohol and drug.

On the other hand, when the effects of the program which parents

participated were examined, it was established that family partici-
pation had a very important effect on child’s academic achieve-
ment. When children whose families attended these kinds of prog-
rams compared with the children whose families didn’t attend any

program, there was a significant difference between the groups in

favor of first group in respect of school achievement, children’s mo-
re regular school attendance, higher percentages of graduation from

high school and higher rate of university education. It was also ob-
served that families that participated in these programs encouraged

their children to continue higher education and cooperate more

with their children’s teachers and give more support in solving

school problems.

Programs have positive effects on cognitive development of chil-
dren that have disadvantages in respect of socio-economic level and

have positive effects in reducing the inequality based on gender

among these children. Also programs that focus on language deve-
lopment affect these children’s school achievement in a positive

manner.

There are also long-term effects of the programs such as decline in

rate of quitting the job and not taking the job seriously, increase in

level of income and high preference to work independently.

KARTAL / Investments for Future: Early Childhood Development and Education • 545

One of the best indicators of short and long-term effects of early

childhood development and education programs is the difference

between demographic characteristics of the G8 countries (i.e.,

France, Canada, Italy, Japan, Germany, England, the U.S.A. and

Russia) and developing countries. When table-1 is examined, it is

seen that while infant mortality rate in the G8 countries does not

exceed 1%, this rate increases to 7% in India. India is one of deve-
loping countries while GDP (Gross Domestic Product) per capita in

G8 average 25.000 US$ (except Russia), this amount decreases to

2.497 US$ in developing countries. Another important data is that

the rate of children that do not attend school despite being in scho-
ol age, is 14% in Turkey, while this rate is 17% in Germany. Howe-
ver, there is about by half (28% / 51%) difference between rates of

children that continue high school in the same two countries.

Data clearly demonstrate that investments made for early years of

the life are made for the future of societies. So, the educational le-
vel of a society and the level of welfare also increase. In this con-
text, early childhood educational programs have been supported by

the World Bank in developing countries. These programs have fe-
wer costs and developed for children who face developmental risks,

education, health, nutrition and nourishment needs. The effects of

these programs on children and their parents have been assessed.

Results of the studies conducted in Bolivia (Bolivia Integrated
Child Development Program (Proyecto Integral de Desarrollo Infan-
til, PIDI), Brazil (Criança Maravilhosa and Alimentaçao de Pre-es-
colar (PROAPE), Colombia (Bogotá Study of Malnutrition, Diarr-
heal Disease and Child Development, Home-Based Community Day
Care), India (Early Childhood Education Project (ECE), Jamaica
(Nutritional Supplementation and Psychosocial Stimulation Combi-
ned) and Turkey (The Early Enrichment Project) verify the positi-
ve effects of these programs on the child and the family. Applicati-
on of these programs particularly to poor families and their children

are crucially significant in the sense that families become more

awareness of the importance of education and these programs help

to reduce or even eradicate the differences likely to be caused by

socioeconomic reasons, that is social inequalities to be experienced

by those children when they start school.

The relationship between human development and economic

546 • EDUCATIONAL SCIENCES: THEORY & PRACTICE

growth also attaches more significance to the early childhood edu-
cation that directly affects human development. As a result, the sig-
nificance of early childhood education has been gradually increa-
sing on the international arena. The United Nations and the World

Bank attach increasing significance to early childhood development

education on the basis of human development and provide financi-
al resources (Bekman, & Gürlesel, 2005). The expansion of servi-
ces of early childhood education (ece) and preschool education to

the all sections of community is one of the targets of social develop-
ment today. However, the high cost of those services prevents the

neediest children of low-income families from benefiting from this

service. Thanks to initiatives of both universities and non-govern-
mental organizations in the recent years in our country that some

models have been developed aiming to support especially children

and their families facing the risk of development (Anne-Çocuk

E¤itim Program›, Aile-Çocuk E¤itim Program›, KEDV’n›n Kad›n

ve Çocuk Merkezleri, Milli E¤itim Bakanl›¤› K›z Teknik Ö¤retim

Genel Müdürlü¤ü Anne-Baba-Çocuk E¤itimi Projesi, Ana-Baba

Okulu, Baba Destek Program›, Güneydo¤u Anadolu Bölgesi’nde

Bir Erken Müdahale Modeli: Yaz Anaokulu Pilot Uygulamas›, Çok

Amaçl› Okulöncesi E¤itim Merkezi, Gezici Anaokulu Projesi,

AÇEV-TRT Televizyon Yoluyla E¤itim Projesi). The fact that the

rate of schooling among preschool children is only 16% reveals that

those models have to be urgently made more widespread all over

the country. When the existing applications and other applications

in our country are compared, it is clearly observed that there exist

some deficiencies. The most serious of those deficiencies is that

preschool education is mostly oriented to 5-6 year-old children. Ho-
wever, the results of studies have shown that the “interventions” or

“preventive” programs implemented within the framework of ece

have more lasting effects on both children and mothers. In this re-
gard, the applications in our country are crucially significant in or-
der to provide early support to those children and their families fa-
cing the risk of development. Within the framework of a program,

if those applications are commenced at the early stages of preg-
nancy during which the effects of prospective mothers on the de-
velopment of the baby in the antenatal period, and if the nutriti-
on and welfare of the infant, the significance of the infants first ye-

KARTAL / Investments for Future: Early Childhood Development and Education • 547

ars and the support and guidance for parental skills are well explai-
ned and provided, developmental defects and problems will be re-
duced and the prospective mothers will be made more conscious of

child development. On the other hand, the intervention program

should not only support the development of children, but also pro-
vide opportunities for mothers so that they can improve themselves

within their own capacities. There is no doubt that all these can be

accomplished through steps to be taken in restructuring in the pub-
lic policies on this matter and increasing the one-per thousand sha-
re of the cost of preschool education in the general budget.

In conclusion, as was seen in effects of programs mentioned in this

study, it can be said that investments for early childhood develop-
ment and education are one of the best way of decreasing the rate

infant and child deaths, increasing the time spent at school, decrea-
sing the rate of class repetition, dropping out school and delinqu-
ency and finally decreasing social inequality caused by adverse en-
vironments which hinder development in early ages and tackling

poverty. But despite all these efforts, in a world in which the ave-
rage of rate of children who continue their education up to fifth gra-
de is below 75%, it can be said that there is a long way to go.

548 • EDUCATIONAL SCIENCES: THEORY & PRACTICE

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Summary Response Paper:

Basic Structure

(Your Name)

ENG 240

Professor _______

Summary: Name of Article, Author. Full citation of article in the chosen citation style of

your field.

(300 words max, 50 min)

Response: (500 words min).

Theses:

• Thesis #1:

• Thesis #2:

• Thesis #3:

Instructions
In this assignment, you are going to write a brief summary of your primary response article. Next, you
are going to respond to that article by bringing up your thoughts or feelings on it. As we learned in
ENG 100, academic writing is a conversation, and an important part of the conversation is to
summarize what someone else has written before we respond to it. This helps our audience understand
the broader conversation that we are entering.

The Summary (50-300 words).

Our summaries should try to capture the main arguments of the paper/article as fairly as possible, even
if we disagree with the points the article is making. Though we try to be fair, we are also selective, for
we want to focus our summaries on what is relevant to the point we want to make.
For example, if I were writing a summary of “Why Games are Good for You” by Stephen Johnson, I
would survey the article first. I would notice that much of the article is focused on the distinction
between books and games and some of the article is devoted to discussing the virtues of hand-eye
coordination. If my argument is primarily about the content of games, these aren’t areas where I will
focus my summary. I will focus my summary on the areas that are relevant to my paper.
For example:
In “Why Games are Good for You” Steven Johnson argues that the beneficial ways a person thinks
when playing video games is an under-explored subject. He stresses interactivity and community, but
mainly he mainly focuses on why video games are so entertaining. To do so, he delves into
neuroscience and what goes into the idea of gratification. He argues that video games are beneficial
mainly because they practice the player in delayed gratification. He claims that “It is not what you’re
thinking about when you’re playing a game, it’s the way you’re thinking that matters” (493).
This summary attempts to convey the basics of Johnson’s argument without getting bogged down in
sections of the paper that aren’t relevant to the point that I want to make. Remember, the point of a
summary is to set up the “They Say” before you get to your claim, the “I Say”.

The Response (500 words min).

You have likely already formulated a basic response to the article in your “entering the conversation”
activity. Now it is time to build and refine those thoughts. Keep in mind that it is okay if your thoughts
on the subject have changed or shifted. You may need to return to the “entering the conversation
activity” and reread what you wrote, for you might have realized there is a better point to argue. For
example, just in writing the summary above, I realized that I also don’t quite agree with Johnson’s
point that video games teach delayed gratification. Perhaps that would be a more productive argument
than the original one I explored. Part of thinking like a scholar is being willing to follow where your
thoughts lead. Many responses will move toward the thesis by assessing the strengths and weaknesses
of your primary response article. Many responses will focus on establishing the “gap” in the
conversation that you will attempt to fill.
After you have written your response, write three different thesis statements that you think best
encapsulate your main argument.

  • The Summary (50-300 words).
  • The Response (500 words min).