Start with Early Childhood
- All 3- and 4- year olds should have access to high quality preschool programs.
- All students should attend a high-quality, developmentally appropriate pK-3 education program.
- The responsibility for all pK-12 education programs that receive public funds should be under the exclusive auspices of The Connecticut State Department of Education.
- The state will establish and strengthen competency-based requirements for all early care and education professionals working with children birth to 8, including credentialing and ongoing professional development.
- The state should develop a support system that will help districts assess their pK-3 continuum and to develop and implement activities to strengthen the quality of the continuum.
- The state will support early childhood education by providing or reallocating funds and modifying policies to ensure a simplified, coordinated system for supporting early childhood development across health and educational programs so that all students have access to developmentally appropriate preschool and all-day kindergarten.
- The state licensure process for private preschools will ensure that all preschools in Connecticut offer high quality, developmentally appropriate programs.
Key Issue 1
There is consistent and strong evidence that shows that:
- Brain development is most rapid in the early years of life. When the quality of stimulation, support and nurturance is deficient, child development is seriously affected.
- The effects of early disadvantage on children can be reduced. Early interventions for disadvantaged children lead to improvements in children’s survival, health, growth, and cognitive and social development.
- Children who receive assistance in their early years achieve more success at school. As adults they have higher employment and earnings, better health, and lower levels of welfare dependence and crime rates than those who don’t have these early opportunities.
- Efforts to improve early child development are an investment, not a cost. Available cost-benefit ratios of early intervention indicate that for every dollar spent on improving early child development, returns can be on average 4 to 5 times the amount invested, and in some cases, much higher.
1. The state should provide funding so that all 3- and 4-year -olds can attend high quality preschools.
2. Develop and enhance programs in higher education to prepare early care and education professionals to meet the needs of all young children across all early care and education settings. All early care and education professionals should have the foundational knowledge and competencies to support child development and high-quality learning experiences birth to age 8.
3. Develop timelines and processes for individuals to obtain a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education with specialized knowledge and competencies for all lead educators working with children birth to age 8.
4. Support systematic, ongoing high-quality professional learning for all adults working with children birth through age 8.
5. Strengthen collaboration and communication among professionals and systems within the early care and education sectors, especially among health care and social service programs and providers.
6. Support early childhood workforce development with coherent standards, accountability and funding.
7. Ensure the Office of Early Childhood and the Department of Education develop a coordinated system of high-quality programs and services birth to age 8 with fidelity of implementation and replication.
8. Develop and strengthen second-generation and third-generation programs and services to support families and their children.
9. Increase public awareness of the research on the importance of investing in the first 8 years of early care and education.
10. The Birth to 3 programs need to be transformed so that they are child-centered. School health centers should be integrated into the Birth to 3 continuums.
11. The state should provide leadership and develop assessment systems for analyzing the quality of the pK-3 continuum.
12. The state should provide leadership and collaborate with the RESC’s to develop and implement tools, including models and professional learning experiences to assist districts in strengthening the quality of the pK-3 continuum.