The Effects of Poverty on Early Childhood

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The Effects of Poverty on Early Childhood

By | September 2011
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The Effects of Poverty on Early Childhood Education

Because poverty affects millions of children it can bring serious consequences to the development of early childhood education. As the on line dictionary website known as Wikipedia states: Poverty is the condition of lacking basic human needs such as nutrition, clean water, health care, clothing, and shelter because of the inability to afford them. This is also referred to as absolute poverty or destitution. Relative poverty is the condition of having fewer resources or less income than others within a society or country, or compared to worldwide averages. Similar symptoms of poverty are a lack of proper nutrition and health care, stress and exposure to violence and low quality parent-child interactions. These factors can affect the educational development of young children by placing them at risk. The term “at-risk” refers to children who are likely to fail in school because of their life’s social circumstances. (Leroy & Symes, 2001). Proper nutrition and quality health care is likely the most basic necessity for a child’s development. Without good nutrition and health a child’s brain does not develop or function to its full potential. In the mid 1960’s, animal studies showed that malnutrition could cause a decrease in brain volume, number of neurons, synapses and reactive zones. Researchers also observed problems with malnourished children as having attention dysfunction and impulsiveness, inability to cope with stressful situations and anxiety. (Levitsky and Strupp, 1995). A child that comes to school hungry and/or sick will not function as well as a healthy well-fed child would. Along with malnutrition comes illness, and in many cases children living in poverty are exposed to toxins from poor living conditions such as lead poisoning, and do not get regular health checks or have access to health care. In a study from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from...