Investing Early: Not Just a Retirement Strategy
The Child & Family Services Division of the Stanislaus County Office of Education has been in the business of changing lives for over five decades. This year, through its early education (preschool) and support programs, CFS will educate over 7,600 of our communities’ youngest and most at-risk learners, support these children’s 6,400 families, and develop over 1,150 early education professionals with training and continuing education–that’s over 15,000 lives impacted!
• CHILDREN •
Children have the opportunity to experience CFS programs in a school setting, in their own home, or in a family child care home environment. Early educators provide engaging, play-based, learning environments where children can explore, discover, and interact with a host of mediums and activities designed to help them develop a solid foundation of language, early literacy, and early math and science skills. They also develop healthy habits and routines, and social-emotional skills through peer interactions and positive, nurturing relationships with their early educators. In short, School Readiness!
• FAMILIES •
As a Division that operates long-established two-generation approach programs, CFS staff support families in developing stronger relationships with their children by educating them on age appropriate expectations and learning activities. CFS also provides a variety of support mechanisms to help families meet their needs beyond a quality early education for their children. Social service referrals for adult and higher education includes English Language Development and vocational training in addition to support for those in crisis needing food, shelter, or other intensive services are provided to families who need it.
• PROFESSIONALS •
CFS’s early education programs support a vibrant workforce of not just the teachers, support staffers, and administrators, but also provide opportunities for parents to join the profession or engage in other work. Ongoing professional development trainings keep staff abreast of practices based on the latest research. Beginning teacher and continuing education opportunities ensure that we promote the same philosophy with our own staff as we do with children and families. Interested in starting your family child care home business? CFS can help support that endeavor too! Recruiting, building, and sustaining a well-trained and highly educated work force is key to the long term success of CFS programs.
This is how CFS impacts the lives of children, families, and professionals. You may be asking, “why invest early?” What’s the return on investment? How does this support a thriving community that’s focused on prevention, closing the achievement gap, and graduation?
The psychological research is clear–the wiring and development that happens in the first five years are the most critical. What you may not know is that for every $1 invested in early education programs like those operated by CFS, communities see anywhere from $7 to $17 saved by reduced intervention costs as a result of increased school readiness; higher graduation rates resulting in a reduction in costs for retention and grade repetition; decreased need for special and remedial education; and fewer citizens following the path of public assistance programs and incarceration. Early education programs are a no-brainer and a smart investment. As American author James Baldwin put it, “For these are all our children, we will all profit by or pay for what they become.”
For more information on SCOE CFS, visit our annual report at: http://www.stancoe.org/cfs/PublicReport
For more information on early education programs
as a smart investment, visit: http://youtube/52KuhCpiOUE
By Tony Jordan, Executive Director of Child & Family Services, Stanislaus County Office of Education