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WWL: Educating the Young Child
Where We Live - with John Dankosky
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Every $1 invested in high quality early childhood education saves taxpayers $7


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48:59 minutes (23.52 MB)
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Every $1 invested in high quality early childhood education saves taxpayers $7.

Those numbers from Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance cite reduced costs from special education, welfare, and criminal justice services.

And that learning doesn’t start in kindergarten, it starts at birth. A baby’s brain grows to 80% of its mature size during the first three years of life, and to 90% by age five.

Many low-income parents can’t provide adequate care and stimulation for young children because of long work hours…and they often can’t afford pre-schools.

This starts creating an “achievement gap” at a very young age, a gap which only widens as the children continue their schooling.

Today we’ll celebrate the “week of the young child” by exploring early care and education - including brain development, language and social skills developed during the first years of life.

We’ll explore how some of these vital services may be affected by the state’s budget cuts – and how federal legislation is helping or hurting our youngest children’s chances of racing to the top.

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Listener Email

Thank you for your recent piece on the importance of early childhood education. I would have called in but I was in the classroom at the time of the live broadcast :) As an educator at the Child and Family Development Resource Center at Eastern Connecticut State University (a state of the art NAEYC accredited center), I have the awesome opportunity to daily provide children with rich experiences. We are especially fortunate in that we work directly with the Center for Early Childhood Education (CECE) - the department which prepares future teachers of Connecticut. Daily, as I work with children from diverse economic and cultural backgrounds, it becomes clear to me that I am in some way helping close the achievement gap --the gap which if not prepared for in the early critical years, continues to grow at rapid speeds.

As far as access which you refer to -- it is so challenging because while centers the ability to serve children funded by school readiness slots and Care4kids, there are still limitations. The slots are typically on a waitlist and too many children are in waiting --through no fault of ours but just that the availability and need do not always match up. Also, children funded by Care4kids face challenges as well -- for example, we have a family in which the mother is expected a child any day now. She just began maternity leave and thus Care4Kids will no longer support her older son's preschool costs. They claim that she will now be at home with the baby and can therefore keep her son home. It is so frustrating because he is being deprived of high quality education right before he enters kindergarten.

These agencies need to understand that we are not merely providing childcare, we are also providing essential opportunities for social/emotional, cognitive, language and physical development. It is theese opportunities which will be essential for closing the achievement gap. We are also a part of a 3.9 million dollar federal Early Reading First grant which focuses on literacy development --boosting oral language skills, phonemic awareness, and so on.

The key is HIGH quality, access, and affordability. Here is a link to our site:



There are also podcasts by professors on the CECE website which are created at our CFDRC center -- good information for families and providers: http://nutmeg.easternct.edu/cece/resources.html

Again, thank you for highlighting the importance of early childhood education - not merely 'daycare' -


The Head Start Program began

The Head Start Program began in the 1960s when I was in grade school and I remember many of the adults I knew at the time in central Pennsylvania (not my parents, they were professional educators) was that Head Start was "communism."

Go figure.

Early childhood speakers

Great job to all of you on presenting the challenges and opportunities in the Early Childhood field.  Also, thanks to Chris Murphy for all his support in working for the young children in Connecticut.