The research is clear: focusing on the early years is the most impactful and cost-effective strategy we can use to improve long-term outcomes for low-income children. Investing in early childhood significantly reduces social costs such as special education and remediation and subsequently increases the future earnings for the children involved, along with many other positive outcomes.
of low-income students are proficient in literacy standards, compared to 75% of their non-low-income peers.
Source: USBE Data Queries
of students of color who are entering kindergarten are proficient in numeracy standards, compared to 81% of their white peers.
Source: USBE Data Queries
low-income children under 5 live in our region.
Source: Census Data
secured for early education initiatives through our advocacy efforts.
Source: Utah State Legislature
more 0-5-year-old students in our region are developmentally on track since 2017.
Source: Utah Department of Health
of kindergartners in all of Utah increased one or more literacy proficency levels in 2018.
Source: USBE 2018-19 KEEP report
For more than a decade, our advocacy team has been fighting for high-quality preschool and optional exteded-day kindergarten programs for every child in Utah. During the 2020 Legislative Session, one of our top priority bills, HB99, focused on Early Childhood Education passed as well as an additional $3 million was secured for high-quality preschool programs. HB99 Enhanced Kindergarten Amendments secured $10 million in new ongoing funds appropriated specifically to creating Optional Extended Day programs.
Our Grassroots Leadership team organizes opportunities for South Salt Lake and Kearns residents to be leaders in their own community. One focus of this work is in early education and child development as a way to give parents a seat at the table in conversations regarding early childhood in their community. The grassroots team does this through conversations with parents about the supports and barriers they experience when trying to navigate the world of early childhood education. From these conversations, we attempt to create events and workshops based on the community's input. Workshops have focused on tips for interacting with their children in ways that help development, as well as how to use developmental screeners like the Ages & Stages Questionnaire. The questionnaire is designed to help parents gauge their child's development in everything from their fine motor skills to problem-solving and are done in partnership with Help Me Grow Utah. Most importantly the Grassroots Leadership team works to have members of our diverse community present at decision making tables where decision about their community are being made.
High-quality kindergarten programs can transform the trajectory of a child’s educational career. With developmentally, culturally, and linguistically appropriate and effective teaching instruction coupled with a focus on social & emotional readiness, high-quality kindergarten programs prepare students for lifetime learning. Our Kindergarten Readiness network, partners with the Utah State Board of Education and other key organizations to help increase the amount of available full-day kindergarten programs within our region with the hope that every student within those districts is ready for school.
85% of brain growth occurs before kindergarten. During your child’s earliest years, the brain makes 1 million neural connections every single second. That’s why it’s critical to engage interactively with our children while their brains are young and flexible. 5 Before 5 is a collaborative effort to help Utah families Love, Talk, Read, Count, and Play more with their kids before they turn 5 years old. This effort is driven by early learning experts around Utah, with special support from KSL, United Way, Help Me Grow Utah, Envision Utah, and many other amazing partners.