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Academic Excellence for Our Children

By Caroline Clauss-Ehlers

Dear Doctor,

After coming to the United States from another country, how do you know when your children should start school and where they should enroll?

Bronx, New York

Those who come to the United States have to become familiar with an educational system that is completely new and distinct from that of their country of origin. It is common that children begin school in kindergarten, or when they are approximately five years old. Recent research, however, indicates that academic excellence among children actually starts much earlier.

These studies indicate that the experiences children have during their first years of life largely influence their future development. Due to these findings, legislators and educators are reviewing laws that support educational programs for children between the ages of 3 and 4.

The question for parents concerns what they can do to provide their preschooler with a positive educational experience. It is often the case that recommended programs are not a formal part of the educational system-this includes programs such as Headstart or those run by churches and various schools.

It is important to visit the school to determine its philosophy and what it has to offer. Young children learn through play and from one another. School activities should not only focus on cognitive skills, but also on the social, personal, emotional, and physical aspects of child development.

To learn more about preschool programs where you live, call the Department of Education or Headstart. Another option is to contact parents you know about the schools in their areas.

This column is educational. It does not substitute for formal medical advice.

Send your questions to Nueva Edad/Hoy, 330 West 34St., 17th Floor, New York, NY 10001
Or call at (212) 462-9464
Or write to
Copyright 2005, Used with permission from Hoy.

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