Idaho AEYC: Early education’s value

Submitted by the Idaho AEYC

The Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children is dedicated to improving the quality of early learning programs and increasing access to those opportunities across the state. As Idaho’s voice for advancing high-quality early learning, we advocate for children, families and the early childhood educators who work with them.

Advocacy

Idaho is one of a handful of states that does not provide any funding for preschool. Families across Idaho say that quality child care and preschool programs are inaccessible and unaffordable. As a result, half of our children enter kindergarten without the foundational skills they need to be successful in school and beyond. Idaho AEYC is working to change that. We promote and support issues related to early childhood education, practice, policy and professional development. We advocate for local, state and federal investment in early childhood education.

Preschool the Idaho Way

Idaho AEYC’s Preschool the Idaho Way project launched in October 2018 with a mission to help more families access high-quality, affordable preschool. To achieve this, Idaho AEYC is working directly with communities to create local preschool collaboratives. These collaboratives bring together stakeholders who want to see high-quality preschool opportunities for families in their community. The goal is to build partnerships among existing local experts in early childhood education, including programs such as Head Start, in-home and center-based child care providers and school districts.

IdahoSTARS

IdahoSTARS is a collaborative project between Idaho AEYC, the University of Idaho Center on Disabilities and Human Development and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. It offers early childhood educators a range of professional development opportunities and resources. IdahoSTARS supports child care programs participating in the Idaho Child Care Program, which helps low-income families access child care. In addition, IdahoSTARS provides free child care referrals for parents, suggesting programs based on the type of care needed, desired days and hours for child care and location. Learn more at idahostars.org.

READY! for Kindergarten

Idaho AEYC’s READY! for Kindergarten project supports parents in their role as a child’s first and most influential teacher. READY! workshops are free and open to families with children ages 0 to 5. Each workshop encourages parents to talk, sing, read and play with their child in simple ways that foster essential pre-literacy, pre-math and social-emotional skills. Each family receives kits filled with high-quality early learning materials. Learn more at idahoaeyc.org/ready.

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