Early Childhood Education in Washington - post

Early Childhood Education in Washington

image in article Early Childhood Education in Washington

Early Childhood Education in Washington 

Quality #early-childhood-education lays the foundation for a child's lifelong success. In Washington state, policymakers and #educators have recognized the critical significance of providing strong learning opportunities and support from the earliest years.

  • The Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) oversees #early-learning programs and childcare licensing in the state.

Numerous studies have shown that enriching experiences in the first five years of life have profound impacts on brain development and future outcomes. Children who receive high-quality #early-childhood-education demonstrate

  • better academic performance
  • social skills
  • More #healthy throughout their childhood and adolescent years, compared to those children who do not have these experiences
  • profound impacts on brain development

The Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP). ECEAP provides free #preschool and comprehensive services to over 14,500 children ages 3-4 from low-income families across the state. 

  • Independent evaluations have found that ECEAP #students demonstrate stronger pre-reading, pre-math, and social-emotional skills.

However, the need still far outpaces availability. 

  • Only about 40% of eligible children are currently served by ECEAP due to limited funding and capacity.
  • ECEAP follows performance standards aligned with the Head Start program. In 2021-2022, over 14,500 children were enrolled in ECEAP.
  • The state has implemented the Early Achievers program, a quality rating and improvement system for childcare and #early-learning programs. Programs can attain levels from 1 to 5 based on meeting certain standards. 
  • Professional development opportunities and credentials like the Early Childhood Education State Certificate are available for early educators in Washington.
  • However, the state still faces challenges like lack of affordable childcare options for many families and needing to expand access to its pre-K programs like ECEAP.

Beyond benefiting individual children and families, investments in early childhood education provide quantifiable returns to society as a whole. Quality pre-K programs lead to:

  • reduced special education costs
  • higher academic achievement and test scores
  • greater workforce preparedness
  • lower crime rates
  • increased economic productivity over the long-term. 

As Washington aims to have a world-class education system, prioritizing early childhood must be a key component. 

  • Supporting children's development from the very start allows them to show up to kindergarten ready to thrive. The advantages compound throughout their schooling and lives. 
  • With its diverse population, Washington has an opportunity to close persistent achievement gaps by offering all children an equal chance for a strong start.

High-quality, affordable early childhood education opportunities should be made available to all Washington families.

  •  The long-term benefits for children, communities and the entire state make these smart investments that will pay dividends for generations to come.

If you are an #early-childhood-educator or interested in becoming one, ChildCareEd can help! 

  • ChildCareEd offers a variety of online courses and resources that are available for #early-childhood-educators. CDA courses, CPR and first aid certification classes, and many more are available

ChildCareEd trainings can be used to fulfill in-service training hours in Washington. Participants seeking in-service training hours should submit a Continuing Education Proposal (CEP) application through their individual MERIT account. ChildCareEd is an IACET Accredited Provider. ChildCareEd offers online self-paced and Virtual Instructor-led format trainings.  In addition, our online courses are available in multiple languages.






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