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Early learning for every child
All children should have access to a high quality preschool regardless of their income level. Currently in our state there are programs like ECEAP, Head Start and Early Head Start that provide high quality preschool to children who are at or below 110 percent of the federal poverty level.
High quality early education can prepare children for kindergarten and beyond. Research shows that children who have access to a high quality early education increase their ability to pay attention, the way they respond to stress, social interaction with peers and decreases the number of children who enter the K-12 education system without the need of special education services.
My children had the opportunity to experience a high quality early learning environment because we were low income. I believe that I am my child’s first teacher but my children needed the experience, education and socialization that they received while enrolled in the program. My children were exposed to a learning environment that was positive, engaging and educational. They entered kindergarten with the skills needed to be ready to learn.
My friend, who was lower middle class, was too wealthy to be accepted to the program but too poor to afford the high costs of a quality early learning environment for her children. It is time for legislators to take the next steps to helping families have access to high quality affordable early education. All children deserve to enter kindergarten with the skills they need to succeed.
I support HB 2448, The High Quality Early Learning Act of 2012, that would begin to create a universal voluntary early learning for 3- and 4-year-olds that would be accessible and affordable to all families and children across the state.