Building the case for early education - share the facts, tell your story 

In order for our leaders to support investment in quality early education, they need to understand its value. You can help build the case for early education through our Building Blocks action alerts. Each alert provides important research, data, and the latest results of Pennsylvania's early education programs, as well as tips on how you can add your own personal experience and local examples for the most impact. You can share this information with a number of important leaders in your community:

  • Share with school principals and other school leaders to reinforce that quality early education helps kindergartners enter school ready to learn and building partnerships with local early learning programs will improve children's school readiness
  • Share with community leaders and county officials to help them consider access to quality early education as they identify priorities for your local communities, such as planning new business centers (employees need access to early childhood programs) or zoning.
  • Share with local business leaders to help them understand that quality early education keeps their employees productive and prepares their future employees to fill their jobs.  

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Building Block #1: Early education is crucial to healthy brain development 

  • Because the first five years have such as impact on brain development, we cannot afford to lose even one year of a child’s early education.

Building block #2: Pennsylvania’s early education programs continue to improve quality, creating a higher return on our community investment.

  • Since 2003, classroom quality scores on the Environment Rating Scale have continued to rise, showing a positive trend of increasing quality in Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts, Keystone STARS and Head Start classrooms.

Building Block #3 - Early education keeps our economy going today  

  • Early education keeps parents working and provides greater economic stimulus that any other sector in Pennsylvania.

Building Block #4 - Early education teachers continue to increase their education

  • Teacher quality is critical to the success of an early learning program. Qualified teachers keep children engaged, promote positive development, address concerns, and work with parents to create learning experiences both in school and at home.

Building Block #5: Quality early education levels the playing field for at-risk kids

  • Forty years of research shows that children affected by risk factors such as poverty, low education level of the mother, and poorly performing schools can make significant gains and overcome these risks for failing in school when they participate in quality early education.

Building Block #6: Workforce Development depends early education

  • The skills that employers want in a high quality workforce, reading, math, teambuilding and creativity, are formed in the early years. If we want a quality workforce in Pennsylvania, we have to invest in early education.

Building Block #7: Pennsylvania's early education programs are preparing children for school success, achievement

  • 2010-2011 child outcomes for Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts, Keystone STARS 3&4, and Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program show children are progressing throughout the program year and are coming to school ready to learn

Building Block #8: Pennsylvania’s families demand access to early education programs

  • Thousands of eligible families are interested in participating in Pennsylvania’s early education programs but are waiting for services

Building Block #9: Pennsylvania’s family support programs put parents, children, on right track

  • Family involvement is a vital part of a child’s early learning. All of Pennsylvania’s early education programs (Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts, Keystone STARS, Early Intervention, Nurse-Family Partnership, Parent-Child Home Program, and Head Start Supplemental) include requirements to include family members in their child’s learning and in the program’s activities.

What helps make the case?

As you prepare to reach out to school, business, community leaders, legislators and the Governor, there are several things you can share to help make the case that early education is necessary for Pennsylvania's children, families and communities:

  • A clear, consice argument - there are thousands of reasons to support quality early education, but keep your case short and to the point. Be clear what you want this person to learn from you.
  • Facts and figures. Statistics from leading research or about Pennsylvania's programs can add validity to your case. But pick only a few statistics that relate directly to your argument. Remember, you don't have to say everything in one communication - you are starting a conversation.
  • Local stories - Most people want to know how this will affect people in their communities. Share individual examples of businesses, families, schools or communities that have benefitted from ealry education.
  • A call to action - what do you want this person to do? It can be something as simple as sharing information with their constituents or employees, or more significant, like supporting continued investment in early education

Why so many alerts?

  • Regular contact with the Governor and legislators shows them this issue matters to you
  • The average person needs to hear or read something three times before they retain it. With legislators and the Governor receiving hundreds of letters, emails and phone calls each week, it takes much more repetition for them to pay attention.
  • You never know which story or fact will bring an “ah ha!” moment

Customize your message!

  • Communication with the Governor and your legislators doesn’t have to take a lot of time, but needs to be IN YOUR OWN WORDS. Use your own experiences and views to make the research and data real for them.


Other great resources

Here are other great resources for helping you make the case:

OCDEL Program Risk and Reach Report. Provides information on the percentage of children at risk for school failure and children served by  OCDEL early education programs by county and school district in Pennsylvania. Great resource to make the case that every community has children who need access to quality early education, but not all of them have access.

OCDEL Annual Report. Provides information on the benefits of OCDEL programs (PA Pre-K Counts, Child Care Works, Keystone STARS, Keystone Babies, Head Start Supplemental, Nurse-Family Partnership, Early Intervention, Parent-Child Home Program) and the positive results for programs and families. Great to make the case that Pennsylvania's early education system is working.

Make quality early education a priority for Pennsylvania: Key facts. Quick statistics about how early education supports brain development, school readiness and workforce development. You can also download an easy wallet card to take the facts with you!

Quick reference for compelling facts. How much more does a college graduate make than a high school dropout? How does America’s investment in children compare to other nations? These are facts that can be very useful as you set the stage for why quality early education is important. But they can take time to find and you can’t find them when you need them. Download our compilation of some of these compelling facts that we’ve used in op-eds and other materials that may be helpful for you.

Kids Count data. Great data on the demographics of young children in Pennsylvania.

National Association for Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) State of Child Care fact sheets. NACCRRA publishes annual fact sheets on each state with the annual cost of child care, number of working mothers with children under age six, etc.