Just a couple of weeks into the new year, it’s easy to get discouraged by the deluge of bad news from Washington, Iran, Australia and elsewhere. But many positive things continue to happen, …
Just a couple of weeks into the new year, it’s easy to get discouraged by the deluge of bad news from Washington, Iran, Australia and elsewhere. But many positive things continue to happen, especially in our community and state.
One example: Wyoming recently received a $2 million federal grant to support and improve early childhood education programs throughout the state. This is especially good news for Wyoming’s youngest residents, as the grant is aimed at helping kids in those important early years.
“Having a strong start to a child’s educational journey helps propel them to a strong finish in their later education and workforce endeavors,” said Gov. Mark Gordon in a news release announcing the grant last week. “I’m proud to support this opportunity to develop a strategic plan and vision for the state’s early childhood system that will help Wyoming’s communities and economy grow and thrive.”
Research has shown that even small investments in young children’s education can make big differences in their lives. One study showed that for every $1 spent on an early childhood education program, there were $4 to $11 of economic benefits over a child’s lifetime. Kids who went through a program were more likely to graduate from high school, but less likely to struggle with substance abuse or go to prison as adults, according to research funded by the National Institutes of Health.
It’s clear that Powell already values the importance of a child’s early learning years.
Children’s first teachers are their parents and other caregivers, so it’s important to recognize the home is a learning environment.
Beyond that, we’re fortunate to have a variety of local resources and programs dedicated to kids’ development and education. Even starting at birth, Powell’s tiniest citizens have resources available through local nonprofits like the Children’s Resource Center and Absaroka Early Head Start.
As a toddler gets ready for preschool, our community offers both private and public options to help youngsters learn and develop so they’re ready for kindergarten. The Powell school district has assisted with that effort through its Pre-K Transition Program.
In recent months, the district also has looked at establishing a KinderBoost class for students who are 5 years old, but not quite ready for kindergarten.
It’s encouraging to see that local educators — as well as those across the state — are making early childhood education a priority. After all, it’s an investment in their future and our hope for a better tomorrow.