Is Early Education the Solution?
Solutions are needed as early as possible to help Maine’s children become healthy and successful. The window for early childhood is very brief, we can’t wait. Early childhood matters because those experiences carry lifelong effects. All of Maine benefit from investments in early childhood which save Maine millions in treatment, crime, and lost economic opportunity.
A child’s readiness for school and success in life is multi-faceted and includes acquiring skills and abilities in:
- early language and literacy (communicating, listening, book knowledge and appreciation, sounds in spoken language, writing);
- personal and social development (self-control, self-concept, social competence, referred to as executive function skills);
- health and physical education (healthy habits and motor skills); and
- individual traits such as initiative and curiosity, persistence and reflection, scientific knowledge and awareness; and mathematical decision-making which is in high demand in the current marketplace for jobs.
Evidence-based effective solutions include access to affordable and accessible:
- High quality early care and education
- Early literacy, home visiting, parenting education
- Early screening and abuse and violence prevention
- High quality health, mental health, and oral health care
None of these supports alone can guarantee success. The real answer is a coordinated set of programs and supports designed to meet the needs of young children and their families—a comprehensive, coordinated early childhood system. The following characteristics describe an effective and efficient Early Childhood Comprehensive System for Maine. The Council addresses these issues as a whole; others are further investigated in committee work.
- Accessible and Affordable for all Maine People.
- Family-friendly (easy to negotiate and understand).
- Inclusive of Children and Families with High Levels of Need including mental and physical health issues but also severe poverty–Early Learning and Development Committee.
- Sensitive to Families of Different Cultures and Languages.
- Preventive and Proactive–Health Accountability Team.
- Uniformly High in Quality–Early Learning and Development Committee.
- Coordinated and Collaborative among Funders and Partners at all levels.
- Fully Funded and Sustainable for the Long Term–Sustainability Committee.
- Accountable, Based on Research, Evidence and Outcomes–Sustainability Committee.
- A Stable, Valued and Prepared Workforce–Professional Development Accountability Team.
Early Childhood Goals for Maine – The Council’s goals incorporate ways to build a high-quality comprehensive system.
- Ensure access to family support and prevention programs
- Ensure access to family-centered parent and child health programs
- Ensure Access to early care and education programs that are high-quality, inclusive and affordable
- Build a stable early childhood workforce that is prepared and valued
- Inform the public and build public will for Maine’s future
- Ensure that funds are spent responsibly and outcomes are measured
- Build cohesive and coherent early childhood public policy
- Finance and sustain the Early Childhood Comprehensive System
Please follow the work of the Maine Children’s Growth Council and to find out how you can help lay the foundation for your child and for Maine’s future. Contact us today for more information.