Did you know…
During the first five years of life, 90% of a child’s brain develops, forming the foundation for future learning. When it comes to early childhood education programs, quality is critical. High-quality preschool gives children a strong start on the path that leads to college or a career. Research shows that all children benefit from high-quality preschool, with low-income children and English learners benefiting the most. Economists also have shown the benefits of investments in early education, which generate approximately $7 for every dollar invested.
As an increasing number of parents are in the workforce, and most children ages 3 and older now attend a childcare facility on a regular basis, it has become critical that young children from all backgrounds have access to high-quality childcare and early education.
Quality Childcare Initiative
In collaboration with local Early Learning Coalitions, United Way Suncoast supports the key quality components of childcare at selected early childcare centers in Sarasota, DeSoto, and Manatee County.
Enhancing the Learning Environment
Children need a physical setting—both inside and outdoors—where they can play, explore, and learn safely.
The learning environment needs to include engaging and developmentally appropriate materials and be arranged to promote independence and exploration based on children’s different stages of development. In order to enrich the quality of classroom instruction, participating sites will be offered: curriculum and supplemental educational materials, educational supplies and toys, functional furniture, painting, flooring and exterior beautification projects.
Establishing an Experienced and Stable Workforce
Studies have found that teachers’ specialized knowledge about child development and instruction for young children is particularly important. Well-prepared teachers have the knowledge and skills to provide engaging interactions and classroom environments to support children’s learning. Participating sites will receive additional Professional Development opportunities for center staff by offering teacher training incentives, credential earning/renewals or onboarding certifications.
Creating Consistent Family Engagement and Referrals
Positive family-program connections have been linked to greater academic motivation, grade promotion, and social-emotional skills in young children across all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. Participating sites will offer increased parent engagement activities where parents will have access to educational toys, coaching, recommended developmentally appropriate activities for the home and referrals to local and financial stability resources.
Advocating for improved policies at State and local levels to ensure all families have access to high quality childcare and early education for their young children that is affordable, safe and prepares children for success in school.
To learn more about this initiative, please contact Andrea Doggett.
We are seeking corporate and civic volunteers to support a variety of tasks for this initiative. If you are interested in volunteering, please visit our Volunteer Portal.