Fighting back tears, Kristina prepares to take a photo of her 5-year-old son Ethan as he holds a pennant that says, First Day of School.
It’s an emotional moment for most moms, but joy and confidence – not uncertainty – spur the feelings welling up inside of Kristina. She realizes the support Ethan received from United Way Suncoast has helped prepare her son for the first day of kindergarten. Knowing that 80 to 90 percent of brain development occurs during the first five years of a child’s life, United Way Suncoast has collaborated with partners to ensure equity and access to early learning for Ethan and children like him in our five-county region.
Ethan will walk through the classroom armed with a 10,000-word vocabulary; a result of the childcare lessons influenced by United Way Suncoast’s Quality Childcare Initiative. QCI, in partnership with Early Learning Coalitions and childcare centers, addresses the key components of quality care and instruction at centers that serve a high number of ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) families.
Now, Kristina knows when the kindergarten teacher begins to ask foundational questions, a wide-eyed Ethan will shoot his arm in the air and eagerly answer. It’s the start of a lifelong journey that has an exponentially greater chance for success. Multiple national studies indicate that kindergarten-ready students are more likely to graduate high school, enjoy post-secondary success and realize a career that will earn an added $250,000 of income.
In the years to come, Ethan will continue to reap benefits from this support, which also aims to increase the number of students reading on level by the end of third grade. Early learning and education remain dynamic tools – maybe our best tools – to give families the “Freedom to Rise” and improve communities.
Your support infuses United Way Suncoast’s proven educational formula. Your resources elevate more early learning centers. Ethan is ready, thanks to donors like you who know that…United We Rise. United We Win.
(Photo for illustrative purposes only.)