Learning at Educare Arizona!
As the calendar year comes to a close, we want to thank you all for your continued support of Educare Arizona! As parents of early learners ourselves, Steve and I know firsthand the importance of high-quality interactions for children's growing brains; these first five years comprise more neurological development than occurs at any other time in life. Having age-appropriate and high-quality services, curriculum, activities, nutrition, and healthcare makes all the difference.
What makes the Educare model so special is that it takes the most up-to-date science and puts it back into the classroom for kids. Using the work of leading researchers - including Educare's own national longitudinal study, which incorporates data gathered at each of Educare's twenty-one sites across the country under the leadership of the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill - Educare constantly reports back to teachers, administrators, and executives as to how children are experiencing Educare and uses that feedback to adjust and improve upon the experience for each child. Parents aren't left out of the process: as we learn how Educare is impacting parenting and parents' time with their children, that information, too, is put to work, through our highly-trained Family Support Specialists on site.
The exceptional work at Educare sites hasn't gone unnoticed: two weeks ago, eleven of our schools - including Educare Arizona - were recognized by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families with grants to provide training and resources to their child care partners to radiate out the quality of their programs (see article below). Educare is recognized as the premiere model in early learning, and we couldn't be more proud.
But the situation in Arizona remains dire: at the beginning of 2014, more than 6,300 children were awaiting child care assistance. That's enough children to fill some hockey arenas. Even with the small increase in funding that opened up the waitlist for the first time since 2011, there are still thousands of families who qualify for services but aren’t receiving them. And Arizona is one of only two states still paying child care centers and homes at the year 2000 market rates, ranking us last in the nation.
So we still need your assist. The programming and services available through Educare are proven to provide the support that ensure that at-risk babies, toddlers and preschoolers thrive. Until funding is restored by the state, private dollars are needed to help these children grow up healthy, strong, and ready to contribute to the workforce and our community well-being. We hope you'll consider staying involved in what we're doing in Arizona; while we know exactly the impacts and metrics of each dollar invested in Educare Arizona, your support is appreciated beyond measure.
With hopes for the most peaceful of winters, and a happy, healthy start to 2015!
Jenny, Steve and the Steve Nash Foundation