April Message from Deb Green
ECE in the News!
Thus far, it has been a very good year for early childhood education. For those of us who have been in the field for awhile, we have gotten somewhat jaded with our collective “inferiority complex.” While legislators have discussed needed improvements to the elementary through college level educational systems for years, we barely heard the words “early childhood education.” Even worse, federal programs such as “Ready to Learn” implied that children only begin to “learn” when they reach the age of five. We know better.
However the tide is changing. In the January State of the Union address, President Obama called on Congress to expand access to high-quality preschool to every child in America. As part of that effort, the President proposed a series of new investments that will establish a continuum of high-quality early learning for a child – beginning at birth and continuing to age 5. By doing so, the President would invest critical resources where we know the return on our dollar is the highest: in our youngest children. Read more about President Obama’s plan for Early Education for all Americans.
At our recent annual conference of the Delaware Valley Association for the Education of Young Children (DVAEYC), Governor Wolf entered to a standing ovation of 1500 supporters of his plan outlining seven critical aspects to increase access to high quality programs for children across the state. See Governor Wolf at the DVAEYC conference.
And just last week, U.S. Senator Bob Casey held a press conference here at PIC to discuss the recent bills he has presented to Congress, again laying out a plan to increase both the quality and the accessibility of programs for young children across the country. During the press conference, he referred to PIC as an “ultimate high quality program.” He noted that he has an uphill battle in getting Congress on board as not all agree with what research has shown time and time again about the importance of high quality early childhood experiences. We also welcomed our state Representative Jim Roebuck for the press conference. As Senator Casey toured of PIC, we discuss what quality really means. We discussed how at PIC we help young children learn to work through problems and conflicts. I suggested all 100 members of Congress should come to PIC and our children could teach them all some lessons!
While we understand that none of these legislative efforts will happen overnight, it is simply heartwarming that ECE has a well deserved time in the limelight. People are beginning to listen and that feels very good!