Invest in us. We’re too small to fail.
So say a growing number of businesses, foundations, organizations and state and local leaders of children in their first five years (from birth to age 5). Today, President Obama announced over $750 million in federal funding for early learning programs through the Preschool Development Grants and Early Head Start-Child Care (EHS-CC) Partnerships as well as calling for the expansion of early childhood opportunities for children across the country through public and private commitments to investment in early childhood programs and research.
It’s a welcome effort, and one that ultimately supports not just those students, but their parents. As I’ve written before, the availability of programs for children, and public preschool in particular, can help parents by lifting the expensive burden of day care; allowing a parent whose choice to stay home was constrained by economic factors to return to work and by involving parents in a community of like-minded families determined to provide the best opportunities for their children.
As much as those children need our nation’s best supports, their parents need support, too. The very best of preschool and child-care programs in low-income communities focus their efforts on parents as well, sometimes offering assistance applying for jobs, returning to school or applying for housing assistance. Helping those parents to establish more stable and secure lives helps their children as much as preschool and early childhood development programs do, and maybe more.