During President Obama’s State of the Union address, the President shared his vision for strengthening early learning throughout America. “Every dollar we invest in high-quality early childhood education can save more than seven dollars later on — by boosting graduation rates, reducing teen pregnancy, even reducing violent crime,” he said. “ In states that make it a priority to educate our youngest children, like Georgia or Oklahoma, studies show students grow up more likely to read and do math at grade level, graduate high school, hold a job, form more stable families of their own. We know this works. So let’s do what works and make sure none of our children start the race of life already behind. Let’s give our kids that chance.” The Strong Start for Children campaign is working with advocates across the country to support Early Learning Day of Action on June 5th.
As a part of the Strong Start for Children campaign, we are excited to support an expansion of Early Head Start to more communities and more children. The research is clear – the first years of a child’s life are critical for their development. Children who have a high-quality prekindergarten experience are more likely to do well in school and find better jobs. One of our parent leaders knows firsthand how much quality education can make a difference early on.
Codie Warner, a Child Care Aware® of America Parent Leader, is very excited as well. As a Head Start child herself, she is a huge advocate for the program. She was able to enroll her children in Early Head Start and sees the impact the program is making. Not only are her children learning daily, her daughter is also able to receive occupational therapy and other services to support her healthy development.
Since 1965, nearly 30 million low-income children and families have been a part of Head Start services. We are thrilled to see the priority placed on quality early childhood settings for children beginning at birth. Too many children today do not have access to quality child care. State laws vary greatly, not just with regard to state preschool initiatives but also with regard to state child care programs and the training and education of the early childhood workforce. The President’s plan will challenge states and communities to do their best for children so that children can do their best when they enter school.