As September began, we had the chance to listen to a very informative speech about the importance of early education by the famous economics professor Steven Barnett.  Steven Barnett is a Professor of Education Economics and Public Policy and Director of the National Institute for Eåarly Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers University. Thanks to the American Embassy of Guatemala, some of the Safe Passage staff were able to listen to Professor Barnett, who shared his expertise from the last 30 years working on topics such as research on early education and child care policy, the educational opportunities and experiences of young children in low-income urban areas, the long-term effects of preschool programs on children’s learning and development, and benefit-cost analysis of preschool programs and their long-term effects.

It was impressive to understand the impact that early education has on a long-term scale for an entire society: The bigger and the earlier the investment is in early childhood education, the lower the problems of crime and violence and the stronger the economy is. Through many different research studies Professor Barnett was able to show the same consequences in terms of development for many different societies on a worldwide level. Thanks to his well-presented results, the Safe Passage staff could once again remember the importance of their daily work for the Guatemala City garbage dump community and left the meeting inspired and motivated for all the work that still needs be done to help our community move beyond poverty through education.

-Denise Lorenz

Adult Literacy Coordinator