When is the best time to start thinking about young learners? Since we know approximately 90% of a child’s brain develops before kindergarten, it’s never too soon—and the earlier, the better. Yet because state leaders aren’t always aware of the issues facing young families, it’s common for children to go without the support they need in their early years.
Enter Early Childhood Day on the Hill. For the first time ever, state leaders and early childhood organizations teamed up at the Utah State Capitol Building to discuss and propose solutions for the biggest challenges facing young children. It’s an event early childhood supporters hope to see continue and grow for years to come.
The theme for 2020—#ItMatters—set the tone for the event: raising awareness for the importance of supporting a child’s growth and development during these crucial early years. With community and state leaders in attendance, Early Childhood Day on the Hill helps bring the needs of young families to the attention of Utah legislators.
Along with Waterford UPSTART, the following organizations partnered to give a voice to the needs and challenges faced by young children:
- Utah Head Start Association
- Children’s Service Society of Utah
- Envision Utah
- Utah Association for the Education of Young Children
- The Children’s Center
- A to Z Building Blocks
- Early Childhood Alliance
- The Sharing Place
- Utah Private Child Care Association
- Voice for Utah Children
Although these organizations and state legislators were the primary speakers this year, parents were also invited to learn about available resources and ask questions about early childhood development. The event was free to the public, and anyone interested in empowering families and organizations supporting young children were encouraged to attend.
During the event, state leaders spoke on issues they are passionate about, with introductions by Kim Fischer, director of public relations at Waterford.org. Notable speakers included Senate President Stuart Adams, Senators Ann Millner and Luz Escamilla, Executive Director of the Utah Head Start Association Natalie Brush, and Abby Cox, the wife of Lt. Governor Spencer Cox.
In the context of improving the quality of life in Utah, Abby Cox said during the event, “Nothing could be more important than building the infrastructure of our early childhood education system.”
Waterford.org is proud to team up with such a broad variety of organizations and legislators to enhance children’s learning and growth in the years before they start school. It is encouraging to see state leaders working to improve the resources available during early childhood, regardless of differences in political beliefs or the best way to support children during these years.
Over the next year, Waterford will continue to help families all over Utah prepare their children for school via our at-home learning program, Waterford UPSTART, and further this mission into new states. With the help of educational leaders in Utah and across the country, we have confidence in achieving our ultimate goal: to help every child in the United States start school confident and ready to learn.