Ask your members of congress to support Head Start in FY 2016!
Take a moment to look around your community today. It is very likely that you will run into some of the millions of Americans who began their success at a Head Start child development center just like Orange Children & Parents Together. Head Start graduates are our mayors, teachers, police officers, librarians, congresspeople, nurses, attorneys, doctors, authors, entrepreneurs, and leaders in the nonprofit community. Since 1967 OCPT has served over 95,000 individuals, some of whom continued their education beyond high school, into college, and graduate programs. So this year as we collectively celebrate 50 years of high-quality early childhood education, we are also celebrating the strength and success of citizens all around us who achieved the American Dream and in turn fortify the economic and social fabric of the United States.
Have you ever tried to build a house from the roof down? Of course not. To fortify a house, one needs to begin with a strong foundation. Building a strong personal future is like building a home, and the foundation for that future is education. Orange Children & Parents Together embraces current research and data that demonstrates the positive impacts of early childhood education for children, families, society, and the national economy. OCPT focuses on children from birth to five-years-old because 90% of brain development occurs during those formative years. Investing in children early increasing their likelihood for high school graduation and full-time employment, while decreasing the likelihood to receive public assistance or be incarcerated. As a society, everyone gains and grows by building better futures through early childhood education. Read more about recent gains in early childhood development here.
Orange Children & Parents Together collectively smiled upon reading the recent Brookings research on quality early childhood education. Brookings’ description of “process quality” in an early childhood education program was like a window into one of our child development centers. The research stated how multiple studies show that for children, a rich learning environment is one where they experience interactions that are responsive, warm, sensitive to their perspectives, and plentiful in language. The quality of interactions in the care-giving setting plays a crucial role in allowing young children to explore, learn, and ultimately to reach their potential. Orange Children & Parents Together is composed of highly skilled educators dedicated to the nurturing of young children through meaningful experiences and research based curriculum. If we do not invest more today and do so wisely to build strong foundations for young children, we risk forgoing the gains that can be realized through healthier, more productive, and better citizens in the future. Learn more about “process quality” and read the full article here.
For some folks, the American Dream begins with Head Start, and this was true for Darren Walker. As a 5 year old living in poverty, Darren and his mother had limited access to community resources and educational opportunities. The creation of Head Start in 1965 embraced children and families marginalized by poverty, children and families like The Walkers, and ushered forth a new era of America Dreamers. In addition to a providing a foundation in quality preschool education, Head Start also underscored for Darren the importance of education as a vehicle for social change. Darren Walker, now 55, is the president of the nonprofit Ford Foundation which provides close to $500 million in charitable giving around the world. Meaningful data abounds about the importance of early childhood education and the longitudinal impact of Head Start for at-risk kids. Darren’s story reveals the resounding impact of investing in children today. Investing in Darren back in 1965 has impacted children locally and globally through his work with the Ford Foundation. Enjoy more about Darren’s life as featured in People Magazine here, and watch his brief video.
Somehow the nation has lost sight of something quite natural in the cycle of life – children inevitably become adults! The Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives embraces this reality by championing quality early childhood education as an investment in the future of the U.S. economy. In a nation with 10 million unemployed, a startling 4 million jobs cannot be filled because the United States does not have appropriately skilled candidates. Longitudinal data proves that kindergarten-readiness programs, like Orange Children & Parents Together, positively impact the economy and society at large. Early education for low-income students increases reading proficiency by the third grade, which in turn increases the likelihood of high school graduation, which subsequently yields more skilled and educated candidates entering the work force and acquiring life-sustaining jobs. Currently the cost of early childhood education averages $8,000 a year across the nation, which is more than 25% of an average OCPT’s family income. Head Start programs, like OCPT, deliver quality education to children and families who would otherwise be unable to access preschool due to poverty. Investing in the tiniest and youngest citizens today, has profoundly giant significance for all of our lives tomorrow. Positively impact tomorrow by getting involved today. Continue to educate yourself by reading more from the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives.