Early Learning is Key
Top researchers believe that as much as 50 percent of the academic "achievement gap" can be closed by effective early learning. It is clear that a child's first five years are critical to future success in school and in life. Children who enter kindergarten near-proficient across all readiness skills perform significantly better on standardized tests of English and math in third, fourth and fifth grade. These years lay the foundation for emotional, social, language, cognitive, and physical development -- all critical to success in school.
Programs such as Head Start have been extensively studied and found to benefit young learners, especially those in low-income families. To learn about positive results for young children in Head Start, see "Early Head Start Benefits Children and Families".
Washington State Remains a National Leader in Early Learning
The conversation about Early Learning has gained national attention in recent years as President Obama has placed early learning amoung his top priorities. However, Washington State was and remains a leader on the topic. In 2007, Governor Gregoire led a bi-partisan drive to invest heavily in early learning. This momentum continues today as Governor Jay Inslee signed the 2015 Early Start Act into law, providing funds for training of teachers, coaching and technical assistance to help childcare centers improve.