Oklahoma City Educare’s impact extends beyond our walls. Across the Educare Learning Network, centers are participating in significant policy change efforts to increase the levels of private and public investment in the first five years, and encouraging government to look at early childhood funding in new and innovative ways at the local state and national level.
Oklahoma City Educare serve as “showrooms” that demonstrate what high-quality, well-implemented early education programs can look like and help to convince policy makers, business leaders and others that investments in early learning make a difference in the life outcomes for even the most at-risk children.
It serves as a community of learning, where future teachers and social workers learn from the very best in the field and become new champions for early learning.
The Educare network of early childhood programs is helping to shape a new model for delivering education and care to children most at risk of school failure and is serving as a catalyst for broader change throughout the nation.
Nebraska: Educare of Omaha was part of a coalition which convinced the State of Nebraska to dramatically increase its investments in early learning programs, including amending the State Constitution to declare that learning begins at birth and the creation of a new $60 million public/private endowment funding birth-to-three services for low-income children in Nebraska. The grants that are made out of this new endowment require programs to operate at Educare-level standards.
Illinois: Since opening in 2000, Educare of Chicago has served as a showroom for quality in Illinois, which in recent years has increased early childhood investments by over $318 million and is progressing toward full funding of preschool services, including high-quality programs for low-income infants and toddlers. Then Governor Rod Blagojevich cited his visit to Educare as the catalyst for his efforts to fight for this increased funding.
Oklahoma: Educare of Oklahoma City and Tulsa has demonstrated the importance of early childhood education for the state’s youngest citizens and helped inspire a $25 million pilot program to promote the school readiness of low-income children, from birth through three years of age, across the state.
Kansas: The State of Kansas recently established an $11 million early childhood block grant, with a set-aside for infants and toddlers. The Governor’s strong support of this new investment and model was boosted by discussions with public and private sector leaders at Educare of Omaha in neighboring Nebraska.
Research and evaluation are inextricably linked to all of the Educare’s work to narrow the academic achievement gap for children in poverty. Educare explores the latest science about early childhood education and translates those theories to the ‘real world’ of our programs. We rigorously evaluate our programs to collect information that we can use to improve our models. Educare shares our findings with policymakers to encourage them to strengthen early childhood programs in their communities. And we share best practices with early childhood professionals so they can better serve at-risk children and families.