For years, advocates of early childhood education have been proclaiming the benefits of high-quality early learning environments, but many others are just now awakening to the importance of these early years.
According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children, brain development is at its fastest from birth to age 8. This is when relationships with caring adults and educational opportunities form the pathways for future school and career success.
Educators and policymakers understand the importance of children reading at grade level by third grade, since this is strongly correlated with high school graduation. Educators also understand that this is much easier to accomplish when children enter school with the skills and tools necessary to succeed.
State and federal policymakers have taken action to help provide young children the benefits of high-quality child care.
Congress recently increased funding for the Child Care Development Block Grant Act, which helps improve the quality and safety of child-care programs, increase provider reimbursement rates and ensure health and safety standards are met.
South Carolina’s lead agency for these funds is DSS’ Division of Early Care and Education, where devoted early childhood advocates reach out to the community to receive input on how to best improve the quality, affordability and availability of child care for S.C. families. South Carolina provides funds through First Steps to School Readiness.
With baby boomers exiting the workforce, employers are looking for qualified students and are working with high schools and two- and four-year colleges and universities to find replacements.
Economists are convinced by research that shows the high success rate for children from high-quality child care and early education programs and have become strong advocates for these programs in order to improve our future workforce and increase the economic stability of our communities. Our military operates some of the highest-quality child-care programs in the country, because military leaders know that their recruits come mainly from current military families and do all they can to support the care and development of these future leaders.
Let’s all celebrate and support our local child care, Head Start and school-based early childhood programs and all of the early childhood educators in our state.
The State publishes a cross section of the letters we receive from South Carolinians in order to provide a forum for our community and also to allow our community to get a good look at itself, for good or bad. The letters represent the views of the letter writers, not necessarily of The State.