Pre-K students at Columbus Avenue Early Childhood Center. (Sept. 13,...

Pre-K students at Columbus Avenue Early Childhood Center. (Sept. 13, 2013) Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

In education, schooling in early childhood has been left for last in our concern. I say this as a former teacher and as lifetime professional observer with a master's degree in early education.

Entrance to public early childhood learning should not be via lottery, ability to pay or a neighborhood boundary. Without early education, we make it more difficult for the foreign-born children within our country to become full participants in citizenship.

We persistently avoid making all the meaningful aspects of learning available to all our early learners -- that is, each child from birth to entry in public school kindergarten, as well as those adjusting to first and second grades.

The youngest child is reachable and may not be so in just a few more years. Children are eager and bring sensitivity, creativity, curiosity, persistence, independence and open-mindedness. Early childhood is the foundation for education.

Betty Marie Wybenga, Center Moriches

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