Adolescent parenting programs in public schools have availed numerous students with young children the privilege of graduating from high school while rendering their children the advantage of earlier education. Other students (whether they have children or not) could benefit from the program as a preventive measure, however, that could become a component of or a laboratory element of Teen Living and/or sex education programs.
The aim of opening the course to students who do not have children would be to discourage them from having them until they are truly ready, preferably married and/or in relationship with loving and responsible partners, and until they are financially and emotionally capable of parenting. The course would ultimately provide adequate parenting skills for future application for this sect of students should and when they do become parents.
Students would be taught to appropriately feed/burp, change, hold, and interact with children, and would be lectured on the related costs and full scope of responsibilities that come along with becoming a parent. Students would also learn parenting methods and participate in child abuse prevention training, and learn appropriate methods of discipline.
Students with children participating in the programs would be asked to rotationally address or speak to their class mates regarding the dynamics of teen parenthood, how having a child or children has impacted their lives (however adorable their babies/children are), and what advice they’d give to those student participants who do not have children. Students would also participate in and watch videos to this effect.
Proliferation of adolescent parenting programs could also avail earlier learning opportunities to the children of low income working parents who cannot afford childcare and may not have a steady system of support, and all on the token of addressing the issue of low enrollment and in many instances discontinuance of such programs due to low enrollment of children.
The proposed Adolescent Parenting programs, as those that are already existent, would be overseen by adults, of course, and the participating infants and toddlers would be taught skills (via trained students as well as instructors) that are appropriate for their age groups and/or such as they are capable of learning at earliest.
Adolescent parenting programs should avail credit and potentially certificates and/or degrees to students who are interested in early childhood careers and may participate in dual enrollment programs.
Generally Lowering the Early Childhood Compulsory School Age or Making Earlier Learning Available to All Children without Compulsion
In light of heightened expectations for pre-k students, and in light of demonstration of the fact that children much younger than traditional kindergarten age are capable of learning material that most students customarily learn in kindergarten, earlier education opportunities should be available to all children, but many parents simply cannot afford and/or may not qualify for childcare/educational programs via the Department of Human Services due to certain restrictions or limitations.
Lowering the early childhood compulsory school age or making early learning available to all children, regardless of a parent’s income or lack of it, or making before pre-k earlier learning opportunities available on an income-contingent basis would resolve this issue.
Public School Management of Childcare Facilities
All childcare facilities should be managed or overseen by local school districts to assure that they meet early childhood academic standards, and to assure likewise that children, pre-k or head start and younger, are following a uniform curriculum that would be designed to help children from infancy forward learn all that they’re capable of learning at each stage of development. Children would be taught to read as early as demonstrably possible.
Owners of childcare facilities would be required to purchase any necessary instructional material and supplies, and to assure that necessary requirements are met.
Childcare facilities would help to assure that early learning opportunities are available to all students who’d benefit from lowering the early childhood compulsory school age or making earlier learning available to all children without compulsion by providing supplemental space to accommodate the increase in enrolled participants. All before pre-k or head start earlier learning opportunities should be income-contingent, where there are costs, which should never be a barrier to education for anyone, whether it’s early or higher learning.
The proposed would also help to stabilize the workforce and economy in that a vast sect of individuals who are unemployed due to childcare-related issues, or not earning enough to pay for childcare, would be capable of maintaining employment, and accordingly paying income taxes, healthcare, and other costs that the government would ordinarily pay via public assistance programs. Employed benefactors of such an initiative would also be better subscribers to our consumer markets.
Such an initiative would additionally reduce episodes of child endangerment and loss of custody where parents are forced to leave their children home unattended or with unsafe sitters so that they can work, noting that states ultimately pay more for foster care of children than they would to offer childcare assistance to working parents who cannot afford it.
Though such an initiative would hinge primarily upon earlier education, it would also provide assistance for after school and/or 24 hour care where participants are enrolled in childcare facilities that offer the service.