In 1979 a large passenger jet with 257 people on board left New Zealand for a sightseeing flight to Antarctica and back. Unknown to the pilots, however, someone had modified the flight coordinates by a mere two degrees. Therefore the plane got off to a wrong start.
This error at the beginning of the flight placed the aircraft 28 miles to the east of where the pilots assumed they were. As they approached Antarctica, the pilots descended to a lower altitude to give the passengers a better look at the landscape. Although both were experienced pilots, neither had made this particular flight before and they had no way of knowing that the incorrect coordinates had placed them directly in the path of Mount Erebus, an active volcano that rises from the frozen landscape to a height of more than 12,000 feet.
As the pilots flew continued their flight, the white of all the snow and the ice covering the volcano blended with the white of the clouds above creating an illusion that they were flying over level terrain. When their cockpit alarms sounded the warning that the ground was rising fast toward them, it was too late. The airplane crashed into the side of the volcano, killing everyone on board.
It was a terrible tragedy brought on by a minor error—a matter of only a few degrees and the result of getting off to a bad start.
Fortunately, the world of educating our young children is not quite as grave as the physical life or death situation depicted in the story above. However, the theme of how you start makes a big difference in how you finish is very consistent with educating our children.
Research abounds in how students benefit greatly from the best possible educational foundation. What is good about the research is that it also is common sense. I love it when research and common sense come together to create practical solutions.
It is not only best for the child to get the best possible start, but it is also best on the pocket book. The savings for parents, communities and taxpayers are tremendous when students are able to meet learning expectations at the earliest possible age.
I love to find win-win situations in life. One of the best win-wins is providing a focus on early childhood learning. It is not just a win-win; it is a win-win-win-win-win-win…etc. (I think you get the point!)
For this reason, I am thrilled to be a part of the important work of The Grove School. And I am competitive. I don’t like to lose. I like to win-win-win-win-win…