Giving to Quality Early Care and Education
thread works with and supports thousands of Alaska’s families and early educators by providing resources like teaching materials and books, family friendly events and high quality training for early educators. We invite you to join us in supporting quality early care and education for Alaska’s children.
It's so easy.
What do we know about the long-term economic benefits of quality early care and learning? After recent studies that have followed graduates of early learning programs through adulthood, communities see savings in school drop out programs, welfare and crime. Benefits of high quality early care and learning include:
This makes quality early learning even more important for families and children in your community.
At thread, we realize quality child care plays a major role in preparing children's readiness to learn and thier overall success in school. We work daily with parents, early education professionals and communities to promote, recognize and support quality child care because we know quality care impacts a child’s future success in school and life. While Alaska has basic programs supporting families and early educators, there is a huge gap in the well-being of children between states that have made additional investments in quality child care initiatives and those that have not. Research shows that when states make significant investments in early care and education programs, children are more likely to be healthy, graduate from high school and be successful later in life. The disparity in quality early learning services varies by community in Alaska. Where some communities are discussing improving the quality of existing child care programs, other communities might not even have accessible or affordable child care options.
Investing in quality early learning for our children is investing in Alaska. Alaska families, like families across the nation, are facing tough economic times. For the first time in our history, most Americans don't believe their children will have the same opportunities they had to lead a happy and healthy life. Alaskans have an independent nature and often rise to the challenges and opportunities of living in this great state. Even in these tough times, we can work together to meet the challenges of working families and choose to make our children a priority. When we help children grow and succeed, we are paving the way for the next generation of workers and leaders in our communities and in Alaska.
Professional Development & Retention for Early Educators: While there are many important factors for providing quality early childhood education, research shows teacher training and retention tends to have one of the most significant impacts on a child’s development. Attachment to consistent caregivers is extremely important in the early development of children. Yet nationally the number of teachers and caregivers leaving the field each year exceeds 30%, compared to only 3% of public school kindergarten teachers (Whitebook & Bellm, 1999). In Alaska, the child care turnover rate is around 46% each year (Market Rate Survey, 2002).
While many industries experience high turnover rates, the impact of turnover in the child care field is seriously detrimental to young children. One can imagine the impact on a child’s learning if a series of kindergarten teachers left for better paying jobs throughout the year. And the younger the child, the higher the impact of these transitions on long-term learning. However, many excellent early childhood teachers leave their positions each year because they can’t support themselves and their families with low wages.
Earning a Livable Wage: Alaska's early care and learning workforce currently numbers 7,300, compared to an estimated 9,500 workers in seafood processing and 6,400 employed in air transportation (Economic Impact of Early Care & Learing Serivces in Alaska - 2011 Update). The early care and learning workforce includes individuals working at child care centers, family child care, Head Start, private and public preschool and pre-kindergarten, infant learning programs and other early childhood settings. However, while this workforce is caring for Alaska's youngest residents, their earnings are very low compared to other workers in Alaska. The average monthly wage of an early educator was $1,494 (Department of Labor and Economic Development, 2009) compared to an overall monthly wage in Alaska of $3,886 during the same year.
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