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The Importance of Early Childhood Education

Updated: Dec 7, 2023

Early childhood education is essential for the development of young children. It gives them the foundation they need to succeed in school and life. However, in North Carolina, many children do not have access to high-quality early childhood education due to the high cost and limited availability of programs. Currently, the Highlands Community is experiencing a significant shortage of space for children ages four to five.

Two pre-K students learning through play at The Literacy & Learning Center" summer camp

Benefits of Early Childhood Education

A growing body of evidence shows the positive impact that early childhood education has on children’s development. Children who attend early childhood education programs are more likely to:

  • Graduate from high school on time

  • Earn higher wages

  • Live healthier lives

  • Avoid incarceration

  • Raise more successful families

Parents with access to affordable and accessible early childhood education are also more likely to be employed and earn higher wages, leading to a more productive and strong economy. “Not only are early childhood programs good for children and families, they are good for our entire society. James Heckman, a Nobel Prize‑winning economist, found that every dollar invested in early childhood education produces a 7‑10% per annum return in better education, health, social and economic outcomes.” (

The Need for Early Childhood Education

Highlands has two excellent facilities that currently provide pre-K to students ages four to five: Highlands Community Child Development Center and The Gordon Center, serving a combined total of 28 children for the 2023/24 school year. While this is an excellent service to the community, it still leaves additional children unserved due to capacity constraints. Those without an available space are left to begin Kindergarten significantly behind their peers from the very start. Research over the decades has shown that achievement gaps that begin in early childhood often have lifelong negative consequences.

The Literacy & Learning Center Responds to the Need

The Literacy & Learning Center recognizes the need for additional services to help prevent and minimize the impact on individual students and the community. The pre-K program at TL&LC in Highlands will offer a comprehensive curriculum. Through a play-based and child-centered approach, young learners will engage in activities that enhance their language and literacy skills, develop mathematical and scientific thinking, nurture social-emotional well-being, and promote physical growth.

The Literacy & Learning Center ensures that every child receives individualized attention and support. Highly qualified and dedicated educators will guide students through their learning journeys, fostering a love for learning and creating a solid foundation for future academic achievements.

Enrollment date is pending completion of licensing with a planned start by the end of 2023 and will be announced to the community as soon as possible. For more information about The Literacy & Learning Center's pre-K program, please visit or contact Caroline Cox at or 828-526-0863.



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