This post is sponsored by Children Matter Action Fund. As always, all opinions are of my own.
As a high school English teacher, I’m passionate about literacy beginning at the earliest ages, pre-k being an extremely important milestone. Pre-k, for example, helps improve language learning. In fact, Pre-K for PA’s research shows that pre-k provides an advantage of about 4-5 months of learning gains.
What’s more, as a mom of three young children, I know first-hand the value of early learning, and the reality when high-quality options aren’t available. So, today, I’m sharing a topic and situation that I am very passionate about: publicly funded, accessible, high-quality pre-k. I am a Child Care Voter!
My interest in this topic began 6 years ago, when our oldest daughter, by chance, was admitted to our local college’s private pre-k research lab. Though the waitlist was long, we were thrilled her name was randomly selected. She had an amazing experience developing her social and emotional skills as well as language and math skills. Her transition to kindergarten was so smooth.
By contrast, our second daughter didn’t have such great luck. Though she was considered a legacy at the pre-k program and would be granted automatic admission, the program closed right as she was ready to join. That left us only one option: a private program for which she was waitlisted. We had no other options, so she didn’t go to preschool. As much as we worked with her on language and math skills, she was far behind her sister in terms of readiness of kindergarten. The transition was much more challenging. Thankfully, we have a wonderful public school, and she had an amazing (and patient) kindergarten teacher this year.
The Path Ahead
There is no doubt we see the difference in the experiences of our two young children.
As you know, we just had a baby December, and we’re already looking ahead to make a plan for him. Sadly, we’re right back in the same situation we were before. There is only one option that geographically is available for us based on our work situation. Not to mention, this is a private pre-k program with a hefty tuition. Even still, with just one option, the demand is high, and the spots are few. We will more than likely be waitlisted just like before.
How many more children on a waitlist is too many before our legislators listen and start investing?
In Pennsylvania, the number is staggering. Only 1 in 3 kids has access to high-quality pre-k. That’s over 106,000 kids being left behind.
What Can Be Done?
So, what can be done?
We need to support candidates and legislators who advocate for public resources to be used for expanded access to pre-k.
Join me in supporting the initiative to make high-quality pre-k available to all kids by joining the Child Care Voters Facebook Group (and encourage your friends and family to do the same). Here, you’ll find resources about which candidates and legislators support this initiative. You’ll also find ways to meet other Child Care Voters and get involved.
Go to https://bit.ly/ChildCareVoters to join!
Primary elections are May 17th, so now is the time to make a change!