August 7, 2014
13 Things That Business Can Do to Support Early Childhood Education
Seven Actions a Businessperson Can Take
- Connect with your state early childhood advisory council. The more you know about the goals and programs in your state, the easier it is for you to be a good partner.
- Familiarize yourself with the benefits of high-quality early learning programs. Understanding the benefits of these programs and telling others about them will help create communities of children who are ready for school.
- Visit a high-quality early learning site. Knowing what a high-quality program looks like and how it runs can help you be a better advocate and understand what it means to give young children a strong start.
- Adopt policies in your business that supports working parents. When possible, implement programs and policies that help your employees become better informed and more engaged in their children's learning and development.
- Educate employees on the value of early childhood education. Whether or not children from birth to age five are at home, they need the social, emotional, cognitive, and physical preparation that will help them be ready for kindergarten.
- Convey to policymakers your support for public investment in early education. As someone who does not have a vested interest in the early childhood education field, business leaders make powerful messengers in support of public investment for effective programs.
- Communicate the evidence behind early education in a variety of forums & public meetings, personal communications, and through the media.
Six Actions the Business Community Can Take
- Support a mixed provider delivery system. Whether early childhood programs are delivered by public, private, or nonprofit providers, communities should ensure that quality programs are available and convenient for the families who need them.
- Encourage early learning system and K-12 alignment. Too often, children are in programs that do not adequately prepare them for success in kindergarten. Encouraging better alignment between early learning programs and kindergarten will help children learn to the best of their ability.
- Promote early learning policies as part of the economic development agenda. Several studies have shown the return on investment that early learning programs can bring to communities. From the number of people employed to the supports provided to working parents to the long-term benefits for children who attend high-quality programs, early learning policies should be considered with the economic development plans.
- Encourage the inclusion of early childhood data in the statewide longitudinal data system. As a nation, we need more information about which programs work, who benefits, and where we need new and better solutions. Tying early childhood data to statewide longitudinal data systems will help provide the information that policymakers and parents need.
- Encourage your state to adopt a Quality Rating Information System (QRIS). Many states have worked to implement QRIS to distinguish between high-quality programs and programs that need improvement. Rating systems are one way to achieve transparency and accountability so that parents and policymakers know which programs meet quality standards.
- Encourage business organizations and networks to adopt a policy position in support of public investments for effective, high quality early education programs. Many chambers have included such a statement in their public policy agenda. Ensure that your chamber, as well as other business networks such as Rotary, Kiwanis, and others, adopts this priority and follow up with policy makers.