Investing in early childhood is an investment in a healthy community!


Students enjoying the gym

Students enjoying the gym

Research shows that an investment in early childhood has long term benefits to a community. A large number of studies have been conducted over the years to support this claim. The basic theme in all of the research is that a child’s quality of life and the contributions that child makes to society as an adult can be traced to his or her first years of life.

 

 

 

 

 

014From birth until about the age of 5, a child undergoes tremendous development. If this period of life includes support for growth in language, motor skills, adaptive abilities, and social-emotional functioning, the child is more likely to succeed in school and to later contribute to society. Conversely, without support during these early years, a child is more likely to drop out of school, depend on welfare benefits, and commit crime—thereby imposing significant costs on society. Early-childhood-development programs recognize this potential—and this risk—and seek to nurture healthy development from the earliest years.

 

Austin Public Schools and the community of Austin have strong early childhood programming available to families. Several organizations provide early learning to meet the needs of our children and families. Partnerships with Mower Refreshed, United Way of Mower County and Austin Aspires further increase awareness and opportunities.

 

Even with all the programming available, families and primary caregivers continue to be the most important factor in a child’s life. Many programs support and build skills for families. Early Childhood Family Education offers a number of classes for families with children birth through age five as well as parent education and parent coaching. A class schedule is available online at www.austin.k12.mn.us/clc.

 

photo-1-3jpgMayo Clinic Health System Austin has implemented Reach Out and Read. This program puts books into the hands of every child 6 months through age 5 at their well-child checkups in coordination with educational materials about the importance of early literacy. Reach Out and Read, the Reading Oasis at Mower County Health and Human Services and the Austin Literacy Initiative are helping provide support and tools for families to build their children’s skills and help ensure healthy development.

 

As a member of the Mower Refreshed Leadership Team I am fortunate to see many of the wonderful programs and partnerships that exist in Austin to help families and children. We are lucky to live and work in a community that values young children and families.

 

Amy Baskin
Director of Community Education and Communications
amy.baskin@austin.k12.mn.us

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