Child development research and economic research make it clear that the first five years crucial for healthy development and success in school and in life, with a significant return on the public investment in early childhood education, with money immediately flowing in the economy and savings in future remedial education and more.
The quality of the early care and education settings is the key to these health and economic outcomes. ECEC recommends that successful prekindergarten policy and investment strategies for four year olds must consider:
- Existing capacity in licensed, high-quality community-based early care and education programs
- Age-appropriate education
- Working families with four-year-olds and children who are younger, too
The Field’s Views on the Early Learning Initiative
In November 2013, the Early Care and Education Consortium (ECEC) and Exchange Magazine polled their members and subscribers regarding the federal government’s Early Education Initiative. With more than 3,500 respondents, enthusiasm in the field is high. Groups described in a recent New York Times article as ordinarily having trouble agreeing on the time of day showed remarkable consensus in their views on what Washington policymakers should consider as they hammer out the details of various components of a new Early Learning Initiative. Their advice for policymakers is as follows: put quality first; fund professional development; clearly define goals to ensure successful partnerships; and level the playing field between public school and high quality child care programs. To read the results, follow the link below.
Other Helpful Resources & Reports
Investing in Our Future: The Evidence Base on Preschool Education
Foundation for Child Development, October 2013
Synthesis of IES Research on Early Intervention and Early Childhood Education
U.S. Department of Education, July 2013
The State of Preschool 2012
National Institute for Early Education Research, April 2013
New Proposal for Preschool for All
When President Obama delivered the annual State of the Union Address, he announced a major early childhood education proposal including:
- Preschool for four-year-olds
- Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships for children birth through age three
- Home visiting
ECEC members see these children in classrooms every day and know the difference that early care and learning makes for beginning with infants and through preschool, and even beyond. The President kicked off a big idea, and it will be up to Members of Congress to move it forward.
In November, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Representative George Miller (D-CA), and Representative Richard Hanna (R-NY) introduced the Strong Start for America’s Children Act. ECEC endorsed this legislation and will continue to work to raise awareness and shape the important details for a successful program on the road ahead. Find out more and take action!