Poverty is one of the most difficult issues facing today’s youth, affecting an estimated 15 million children in the United States. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, 21% of minors — nearly one-fourth — are members of families living below the poverty line. Not only does this dramatically hinder children’s security surrounding food and shelter, but it puts them at greater risk for behavioral, educational, emotional and social problems.
Fortunately, early childhood learning centers are working to get kids off on the right track, no matter their socioeconomic background. At Jaycees Early Learning Center, our team of credentialed teachers and caregivers serve young children in the Washington D.C. area with affordable daycare and learning services.
Read more to learn how early childhood education is making a positive difference in the lives of low-income families.
Growing Up Impoverished
As mentioned, children of impoverished families are at greater risk of developing difficulties in their daily social, educational, behavioral, and emotional interactions. Because the parents of low-income households struggle to make ends meet, they often find themselves working long hours or even multiple jobs just to keep the lights on. While their actions are undoubtedly a testament to their work ethic and love of family, there is a certain degree of attention that children need during their development, most crucially in the earliest years of life. But if parents are out of the house because they need to be at work, that doesn’t mean their kids will learn how to be independent.
It takes a strong, respectable, and consistently present authority figure in order to instill those values in a young child. Unfortunately, money and resource troubles can interfere with this, drawing parents away from their children when they most need assistance with education, mental and social health, and behavioral development. For this reason, children growing up in impoverished neighborhoods are more likely to be exposed to crime, violence, pollution, and sub-par educational standards.
Finding Helpful Resources
If there’s a silver lining to the issue of child poverty, it’s that it has encouraged public policy makers and educators to step up their efforts. From subsidies for low-income housing to affordable child care, it is possible for parents to make decisions that positively impact their kids’ chance of leading a successful life — a life far away from a past of poverty.
One of the best things a parent can do for their child is to enroll them in a school or early learning center. Not only do these facilities provide the education and structure so necessary for development in youth, but gaining familiarity with adults and supervisors who genuinely care for their wellbeing can work wonders on a child’s sense of self and hope for the future.
Other resources that can be of immense benefit to low-income children include community advocates, mentors, academic and classroom aides, foster workers, and — of course — peers and friends their own age.
To learn more about how affordable childcare can be, no matter your current financial status, contact one of the credentialed, compassionate caregivers at Jaycees Early Learning Center. We also encourage you to take a look at our quick-reference guide on poverty in early childhood. Click here to see the infographic!