A strong foundation for early learners
Research shows that early childhood programs can play an important role in preparing our youngest scholars for success in school and beyond. Enrollment in high quality pre-kindergarten program for three and four year olds, for example, has been shown to help young people develop pre-academic skills as well as important social, emotional, and behavioral competencies. Some studies have even shown that early childhood education programs can yield monetary benefits in terms of improved workforce productivity and reduced costs related to health care and criminal justice. In fact, according to the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, early childhood initiatives can provide benefits to society of approximately $8.60 for every $1 spent.
The Foundation has been pleased to support our early learners in several ways. One way we’ve done this has been through the supporting the state of Rhode Island’s pre-kindergarten program. In 2014, the Rhode Island Foundation – in concert with Rhode Island KIDS COUNT
and the Rhode Island Department of Elementary & Secondary Education
– supported a successful effort to win a competitive $2.2 million federal expansion grant. It is expected that this grant will help expand access to Rhode Island’s state pre-kindergarten program to students throughout the state.
In addition to supporting greater access to high-quality early childhood programming, we have supported both the professionals who work in early childcare settings as well as to the physical settings themselves. Ready to Learn Providence, a program of the Providence Plan and a grantee of the Rhode Island Foundation, has worked to provide high-quality professional development to early childhood care providers since 2003. We supported Ready to Learn Providence in 2014 when it successfully won a $3 million federal Investing in Innovation grant to provide training on early childhood executive functioning skills to hundreds of parents, families, and teachers in the Providence school system.
The Foundation has also supported the Rhode Island Child Care and Early Learning Facilities Fund
designed to help licensed early learning and education programs that serve high-needs children address urgent facility issues. Since its launch in 2001, this Fund has invested more than $18 million in quality improvements in our state’s child care facilities.
We are pleased to help build a strong future for our state by investing in the learning and development of today’s youngest learners.