Research shows not only that investing in the early care and education of children 0-5 develops individuals who are more successful in school and life, but that taxpayers benefit in the long-run as well. Investment in early education achieves increased educational outcomes (such as early development of reading, math and social skills, and increased probability of high school graduation), as well as increased employment success and decreased criminal activity.
San Diego’s Quality Preschool Initiative engages a variety of program types in its Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS), including center-based preschools and infant/toddler programs as well as family child care homes. This is the result of San Diego’s long history working toward continually improving quality in early care and education programs. With community input, the county has been guided and funded to implement the QRIS, first through First 5 San Diego’s Preschool for All program, and then later through the Quality Preschool Initiative, and additionally through California Department of Education grants and locally funded private/non-profit grants.
Over the past decade, First 5 San Diego has dedicated more than $100 million to increasing children’s access to high quality early learning environments, enhancing preschool classroom quality, supporting the professional development of early childhood education (ECE) staff, and strengthening parenting skills and knowledge. The Department of Education added more than $10 million to support the work in San Diego in the last three years. The United Way of San Diego County provided a grant to engage Family Child Care Home providers in the work over the last two years. Yet the need is still great.
Existing funding streams for conducting ratings and supporting and incentivizing improvements are limited. We need your help to ensure that all of San Diego County’s children in their first five years of life get the kinds of high quality early care and education experiences they need to do well in school and beyond.
We invite you to participate in the following ways:
- Contact us to invest in supporting the Quality Preschool Initiative’s rating and improvement efforts to enhance and sustain high quality for children ages 0-5;
- Contact us to sponsor the cost for a local early care education provider to receive a rating and/or related quality improvement support;
- Volunteer in an early learning program, especially as a member of an advisory committee or board of directors;
- Apply to participate in the Local Child Care and Development Planning Council to participate in developing early care and education strategies that meet local needs; and
- Talk with friends, neighbors, and other community members about the impact high quality early learning environments have on local schools, neighborhoods, and workforces.