Early Education

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Early Childhood Education: Investing Early Pays Off

Closing the gap before kids enter school is the most effective way to prepare our kids for a healthy and productive life. Our state earns a $16-to-$1 return on investment for every early childhood education dollar, making it one of the best investments our community can make. Yet, only 50% of kids statewide are ready to learn when they start school.

Why it Matters:
  • Kids who start school not ready to learn are at a disadvantage and often never catch up with their peers.
  • Kindergarten readiness is associated with 3rd grade reading proficiency, which is a key indicator of school success. Students with limited reading skills are more likely to exhibit behavior issues, repeat a grade, and eventually drop out of school.
  • If we don’t prepare our kids early, we all the price pay later and risk our ability to compete in the global economy.
Take Action:
  • Spread the word about the Parent Aware Rating Tool, our state’s new childcare rating system that helps parents make smarter choices about their children’s early years.
  • Contact your elected officials and let them know that early education is important for our state and region.
  • Volunteer your time or donate to a nonprofit that supports early childhood education advocacy, engages parents, or provides opportunities to low-income, kids of color.

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Spotlighting Success

Giving Kids a Healthy Start
YWCA of Minneapolis Early Childhood Education Program

The YWCA of Minneapolis’ anti-bias curriculum ensures that children from all backgrounds are ready for school, and an impressive 90% of the center’s kids are proficient in school readiness standards when they start kindergarten. Is this the anti-bias curriculum at work? Or perhaps it’s the special intervention and family services the YWCA offers?

The YWCA knows that engaging with families from the get-go is critical. The organization works tirelessly to engage parents and make sure that they have the resources and referrals needed to support their kids. The YWCA also operates an innovative program called the Bungalow Business Development Program working with Somali and Latino childcare providers to improve educational outcomes for kids.

The organization’s culturally-sensitive approach to care is working well.  Just last year, 96% of their children throughout their centers demonstrated age-appropriate development.