Too many children in the United States arrive at the kindergarten door already behind their peers. But where do we start if we are to make sure our children are ready for school? Earlier than you think! From the moment of birth, babies start on a path of learning and discovery that determines how confidently they step over the kindergarten threshold and beyond.
Because too many children today do not have access to quality child care programs, President Obama recently proposed a birth-to-five early learning plan that begins at the beginning. The President’s proposals support parents and other caregivers in fostering the early development of infants and toddlers. Highlights from his proposal include expanding high-quality early learning opportunities by promoting more partnerships between Early Head Start and child care. Another program proposes increased funding to improve health and safety in child care.
You can get the full fact sheet for his plan online.
These proposals for infants and toddlers, together with the President’s proposal to expand prekindergarten, will give children the opportunity to have high-quality early learning experiences throughout their first five years of life, which will give them the best opportunity possible to succeed.
In Alaska, approximately 23,000 children annually spend these formative years out of the home and in state licensed child care. Yet high-quality care for infants and toddlers is in short supply and often out of reach altogether for families who could most benefit.
Supporting infants and toddlers is critical because their earliest experiences shape their brain architecture, laying the foundations for later learning. Without positive experiences that create strong foundations, learning gaps appear early, sometimes detectable before a child’s first birthday. It’s time for a new investment in early learning, starting at birth, right now.
On June 5th learning advocates around the country are joining together on a day of action in support of President Obama’s new early learning initiative. The goal of the day of action is to get people talking about the importance of strengthening child care and early learning. From now until Father’s Day, you can join the conversation. Click here to take action or to learn more!
For more information about finding quality care in Alaska, visit thread.