Our desired result: All children enter school developmentally on track in terms of health, literacy, social, emotional and intellectual skills.
Why Invest in Early Childhood?
United Way’s Success By 6 initiative is a key component of our strategy to change the odds for children and families. By focusing on the most vulnerable children and families in our region, we seek to eliminate the achievement gap between low-income students and their more affluent peers.
We know that children’s earliest experiences form the foundation upon which future learning, behavior and health depend, and that healthy development depends on the quality and reliability of their relationships, both within and outside the family. If we can reach children in their early years, we can put them on the path to success.
Success By 6 Strategies
1. Create access for young children from low-income families to early care and education.
We have been able to expand access to early education by:
- Securing federal funds to create a new Early Head Start program for infants and toddlers from low-income families.
- Subsidizing low-income families in high-quality early care and education programs.
- Supporting the expansion of licensed family child care homes so more licensed spaces are available for families.
- Providing leadership on community collaboratives to secure additional funding to create subsidized programs.
2. Improve the quality of early care and education.
The research on the benefits of quality early care is unequivocal: high-quality care, with well-trained and nurturing teachers, helps young children succeed.
United Way has helped to improve the quality of early care and education by:
- Supporting early childhood consultants to work with child care centers to secure national accreditation, the hallmark of a high quality program.
- Supporting literacy and math coaches for teachers working with infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.
- Subsidizing the cost of museum visits and high-quality children’s books to enrich the learning opportunities for children in family child care homes.
3. Increase parent knowledge about how they can best support their child's development.
Parenting matters. Research indicates that early attachment is one of the most important factors in children’s lifelong success. We have worked to increase parent's knowledge about how to create healthy relationships with their children, and give them the best possible start in life:
- Supporting programs that provide information and learning opportunities for families, including home visits, playgroups and family learning nights.
- Working with volunteers to create Born Learning Trails with fun outdoor activities that promote learning.
- Creating the Secure Start Network to help programs provide Circle of Security-Parenting sessions to help parents understand how to improve their relationship with their child through better caregiving.