Quality and affordable education have not been easily accessible to the poor across the world. Due to the nature of the world economy where only those successful in education can fit into the job market, children from poor families turn to alternative engagements such as crime in their efforts to improve their living standards. This, consequently, leads to increased insecurity and makes it expensive for governments to combat crime. Knowing that education is the primary poverty prevention strategy, experts introduced head start and high scope education programs, which are affordable early childhood education curriculums. These have been effective in addressing these challenges. Recent studies on the effect of these programs have shown a significant drop in crime due to reduced poverty. There is also an increase in knowledge level and reduced costs of higher education. Besides, they are the qualities of these programs that have brought drastic change to the world. Despite their positive effect, head start and high scope models have a number of similarities and differences too.
Both programs were started by the motivation to end a cycle of poverty in disadvantaged families through education. As Smith (2012) notes, education is the base of success, and success breeds success. Children from poor families have no chance of getting good quality education. This denies them the opportunity to succeed in school, which negates them the possibilities of securing better jobs due to the inequality in the acquisition of necessary skills to compete for the employments. This accelerates poverty in their families leading to the possibility of venturing into crime. Giving them an opportunity to access resources that can give them the competitive advantage could solve poverty. Head start and high scope systems seek to offer these opportunities to the disadvantaged children. The two systems operate in the model of quality early education where children are provided with necessary resources at an early age. In both programs, children as young as six months are admitted to education centers and categorized according to their age. As noted in the recent reviews, children who have gone through the curriculums have shown outstanding performance compared to their peers who have not. They have been able to read, relate with people, and the majority have successfully advanced to higher education without repeating a class. Crime levels have decreased dramatically thereby saving governments money that would have been used to prevent crime.
A striking difference between the two systems is the inclusion of parents and mainly pregnant mothers in the head start model. In this program, the resources obtainable by the kids and their relatives are more than just normal learning, parental participation, and health care. The amenities include school enthusiasm and cognitive expansion services for the very young, regular medical checks, vaccinations and dental services. Head Start program also provides mental health facilities and preschool services for free, healthcare access to deprived people, sustenance for parent-child associations, obtaining jobs for parentages, and daycare amenities for the kids. High scope system, on the other hand, only concentrates on the education goodwill thereby leaving these children exposed to other challenges that are facing their families. High scope system only engages parents at the monitoring level where a child’s progress with education is evaluated.
In conclusion, though these programs face opposition from some quarters, the benefits accrued from them cannot be ignored. Decreased mortality rates, improved nutrition, a high number of successful graduates through the programs, and decreased crime levels are some of the benefits. Areas that were considered poor regions have witnessed growth as a result of the development of these learning centers by attracting investors and able families that want their children to learn through the curriculums.
- French, G. (2012). The High Scope Approach to Early Learning.
- Smith, L. C. (2012). Head Start: A True Start to Getting Ahead: A Literature Review of the Head Start Program as a Primary Poverty Prevention Strategy. McNair Scholars Research Journal, 5(1), 12.