Early Childhood

Goal: All children enter school ready to succeed.

Strategy 1: Build Parenting Skills

When parents become their child's first and best teacher, kids start school on a path to success. We fund best practice programs that teach the highest need parents how to nurture their children's developmental needs and provide a safe environment for growth and learning.

Strategy 2: Provide High Quality Childcare

Child care isn’t cheap. Many low-income parents can’t afford quality care and have few options for safe environments for their kids. Children arriving at kindergarten who’ve been in the care of nurturing adults, with good social and literacy experiences, are prepared to succeed in school and beyond. With your help, we make this quality of child care accessible to low-income families.

Strategy 3: Strengthen Social Emotional Health

We know that home visitors are one of the best ways to connect high need families with the resources and knowledge they need to be the best parents they can be. We fund these programs to reach vulnerable families and support children from birth to age 3.

Why This Matters

  • From infancy through high school, children's educational outcomes are dependent on the quality of their learning experience. Quality early childhood education, in particular, has been shown to have a significant positive effect on future success, because brain circuits are developing actively then.1 In fact, 85% of the brain's development happens before a child enters kindergarten.2
  • When children receive quality early childhood education, they are more likely to read at grade level by 3rd grade.3 The number of words a child knows at age 3 strongly correlates with reading and comprehension levels at ages 9 and 10.4
  • For a family in poverty, licensed child care for one child in a two-parent household can cost more than 50% of a family's income. (Average cost per year is $10,294 per child.)5
  • In Washtenaw County, the Infant Mortality Rate varies widely between white and black infants: 4.9 for white infants, but 12.3 for black infants.6
  • In 2016, there were 485 cases of substantiated abuse & neglect of children ages 0-8 in our county.7

1Center for the Developing Child. “National Scientific Council on the Developing Child,” 2010.
2Winter, Suzanne M., and Michael F. Kelley. “Forty Years of School Readiness Research: What Have We Learned?,” 2008.
3The importance of early brain development. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.readyazkids.com/
4 Ibid.
5 Child Care Network
6 Michigan Department of Health & Human Services (MI DHHS)

Love This Work? Join Us.

Give: Make a donation to our Early Childhood work. We are local dollars changing local lives.

Advocate: We support policies that ensure education outcomes. View our Public Policy Platform here.

Volunteer: Your time can be valuable for our nonprofit partners that champion Early Childhood Development