The first eight years of a child’s life are critical because, in this short time span, the building blocks for optimal development are established. Early relationships (both familial and external) lay the groundwork for academic preparation and social/emotional development. Brain and vocabulary development directly influence academic success; social adjustment and self-regulation impact behavior. How we think, learn, communicate, concentrate, problem solve and relate to others when we get to school and later in our lives depends in large part on the experiences we have and the skills we develop during the earliest days, months, and years. Without these vital skills, windows will close and will not reopen again without costly remediation, if ever. Because of the complex nature of early childhood development, multiple audiences – including parents, caregivers, teachers, and communities – must work together to ensure that children enter school ready to learn and that they remain on that path.
Young Children in Need of Care
The quality of early childhood programs matters in part because of the high number of young children who are in need of care. Close to 3 out of every 4 (73%) of local children must be cared for by someone or some program for periods of time because their parents/guardians work. In the state of Indiana, 64% of children are in need of care.
Data from our Early Learning Data Dashboard
Early Learning progress in the Tri-State will be measured by these community changes:
- More children arrive at kindergarten ready to learn
- More 3rd graders will meet or exceed grade-level benchmarks for school success
The Foundation has identified four specific priorities that engage key audiences:
- Family Engagement – Helping families understand the importance of early learning and equipping them with best practice parenting tools
- Provider Effectiveness – Equipping early learning providers with the tools to create high-quality learning settings
- Affordable High-Quality Enrollment – Providing scholarship resources towards efforts to make high-quality learning environments more accessible to families
- Academic Supports – Funding programs by schools, church and community organizations focused on narrowing the learning gap among elementary school students
To learn more about our Early Learning Investment, view our Early Learning Whitepaper – Building a Strong Foundation Through Investment in Early Learning.
Path to Impact
Our Path to Impact is the process by which the positive change that we believe our communities need will be realized through the focus on the priorities listed above.
Our Commitment to Nonprofit Excellence
We believe that Nonprofit organizations are the lifeblood of our community and that systematic, comprehensive, affordable training and leadership capacity-building opportunities are critically important for both staff and board members – equipping this next generation to lead and govern.
Through our Nonprofit Excellence Impact Area, we are working to provide education and resources to nonprofit leaders so that they are better equipped to lead with excellence and organizations can sustainably thrive.