Status of early childhood education Status of early childhood educationWhat does early childhood education look like in Indiana? According to our partners at the Indiana Early Learning Advisory Committee (ELAC), Child Care Aware of America, and Early Learning Indiana: There are more than 500,000 children ages 0-5 in Indiana. Almost 330,000 of these young children are potentially in need of child care. Our youngest learners have access to less than 40,000 high-quality early childhood education seats (Paths to QUALITY™ Level 3 or 4 with national accreditation). That means that nearly 290,000 of Indiana’s children are either in need of child care or are in early childhood environments that are not considered high-quality! Why does early childhood education matter? These statistics are especially startling when one considers the positive impact of early childhood education – not only to the lives of individual children, but to society as a whole. Studies by the Urban Child Institute and the World Bank tell us that early childhood education not only affects future academic success. It affects community health and income too. Children who attend high-quality preschool programs are less likely to need special education, to be arrested, or to require social services. They tend to be healthier, earn higher incomes, and pay more taxes. Our community needs a skilled and productive workforce if it is to attract the kind of jobs that will sustain a strong economy. Investments in early childhood indirectly can contribute to these efforts. What work is being done to improve the status of early childhood education? Child Care Answers works directly with Early Learning Indiana to help with the following areas: Capacity building – We support new providers in becoming licensed and expanding their programs to offer more high-quality seats for children.Family engagement – We offer resources and support to both families and providers to facilitate a positive connection between the two.Innovation & Leadership – We collaborate with a number of organizations to support and guide decisions that affect the broader landscape of early childhood education in Indiana.Community Partnerships – We meet families where they are. That means that we connect families to other service organizations and these organizations also refer them to us when they uncover a need for child care. We partner with local business to ensure that their workforce has the tools they need to be efficient at work without having to worry about child care. How can you help? Advocate! If you are an advocate, you are someone who stands up for what you believe in and you share that message with others. Your voice, along with the voices of others, can make a huge impact in early childhood education. How can you advocate? It can be as simple as writing a letter to your national or state elected officials to educate them on your cause. By doing this, you put a face to the issues that matter to you. You can also educate the public and reach out to others that support your cause. Share your story with anyone that will listen, contact the local papers or news stations, and write letters to the editor. Learn more at our Join an Advocate Group page.