What a day! With not a cloud in the sky (when does that ever happen in Olympia?), more than 50 early learning advocates, representing the 10 Early Learning Regional Coalitions, descended on the Capitol last week. They met with close to 50 legislators, expressing their support for the Early Start Act and significant investments in early learning.
Proudly sporting buttons that read “Ask me why I’m an early learning champion,” the regional coalitions made a strong case for why local communities care about early learning. And why are they early learning champions, you might ask? Here are a few reasons:
- Return on investment – for every dollar invested in early learning, we can expect a return of at least $4
- Quality and equity – high quality care can close the opportunity gap before it begins
- The science is behind us – the early years are absolutely critical for the brain development of our little ones
So what does it mean to have the voices of local practitioners and experts echoing throughout the halls of the Capitol? It means that our policies will be grounded in the challenges and opportunities faced by local communities. It means that local early learning experts can position themselves as resources to their legislators. And, most important, it means that the needs of our littlest learners are truly being represented where and when it matters most.
Check out our Advocacy Day photo album
Early Learning Coalitions from around the state meeting with Bette Hyde, Director of Early Learning pic.twitter.com/ThjGXJyC1w
— Yakima Valley CF (@YakimaValleyCF) March 26, 2015
The day was made all the more exciting by the addition of a Pre-K 1K race, organized by MomsRising. Flanked by a handful of legislators and Gov. Jay Inslee, more than 30 toddlers and preschoolers raced around the Capitol to remind us to hurry up: We need these investments, and we need them now! After all, these little ones aren’t getting any younger.
— Thrive Washington (@ThriveWA) March 26, 2015
Thanks to everyone who made this exciting day happen!