- Research tells us that investing in early learning benefits children + families + society.
- The availability of early education programs attracts homebuyers and increases property values by $13 for every dollar invested.
- A lack of childcare costs businesses $4.4b annually due to employee absences.
- Quality early education reduces grade retention and saves school divisions money in the long run.
- Children who attend higher quality programs enter kindergarten ready to learn, live healthier lives, are LESS likely to repeat a grade, and are MORE likely to graduate from high school.
- A focus on birth to five lowers rates of chronic disease and lowers health care costs.
- Children who participate in high quality programs show long-term health benefits (reduced depression, rates of smoking, obesity and substance abuse).
- The annual cost of infant, toddler and preschool programs ranges between $10-16k. Those programs may not be high quality.
- Children from low-income families often have access to lower quality programs.
Economics in VA
- $13,728 is the annual cost of center-based care.
- 47% of residents live in childcare deserts.
- Children are born learning.
- Children who enter kindergarten behind their peers are more likely to remain behind in their education, careers and lives.
- The foundation for reading ability is built in the first five years.
- High quality early learning increases high school graduation rates by 14%.
- When children face adversity, they are at far greater risk for cognitive, language, social & emotional delays.
- Most voters say there is a lack of affordable, high quality early education programs.
- There is bipartisan support for early learning.
- Investment is slow and steady in most states.
- Today, Democratic and Republican candidates are making high-quality early learning part of their campaign platforms.
- National and state polling shows an increase in support for greater investment in early education.
- American voters support making early learning and childcare more affordable for working families (82% R’s, 85% I’s and 97% D’s).
- 2/3 of American voters say we need to do more to give our children a strong start before K.
COVID-19 Impact on Early Learners & Programs
- More children started kindergarten without key readiness skills (VKRP, 2020).
- More black and brown children entered kindergarten without the readiness skills they need to be successful academically and socially (VKRP, 2020).
- Social skills and self-regulation skills are kindergarten teachers’ biggest concerns.
- More kindergarteners and first graders started the school year at high risk for literacy failure compared to last year.
- Black, brown, English learners (EL) and children from economically disadvantaged homes were at greater risk of reading failure (PALS, Fall 2019 to Fall 2020).
- The increased number of kindergarten and first grade students starting the school year at high risk for reading failure is a threat to third grade reading outcomes down the road (UVA COVID-19 Research Brief, Fall 2020).