Auburn and Hastings are recipients of the latest round of Sixpence Child Care Partnership grants. The grants are awarded to school districts who have partnered with local licensed child care providers to improve the care for infants and toddlers at risk.
Balancing a wide variety of public interests and with great bipartisan support, the Nebraska Legislature again recognized the critical importance of children’s early years prior to adjourning the 2015 legislative session on May 29. Of preeminent importance to First Five Nebraska is public policy that recognizes the development of the brain in the early years literally shapes the learning capacity for the rest of a child’s life. Here's a summary of our highest priority bills from the 2015 legislative session.
With true bipartisanship, Nebraska senators passed and Governor Ricketts signed legislation to allow partnership between child care providers and schools to help young children receive the kinds of early experiences known to foster cognitive and character skills that lead to success in school and life.
As child care professionals, we know that good quality early childhood environments matter.
Child care and education fall under the purview of two different systems in Nebraska, and each approaches early childhood from a unique standpoint. For the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees child care, the issue revolves around ensuring that children’s fundamental requirements for health and safety are met while in care. Nebraska’s education system, on the other hand, focuses on whether children begin kindergarten ready to learn and prepared to advance academically. The science of early childhood development tells us that these two aspects of child development shouldn’t be addressed as separate considerations. Early child care environments are, or ought to be, learning environments—just as the health and safety of young children are necessary for quality learning to occur.
As public school educators and administrators, we deal directly with the outcomes of children’s earliest learning experiences. All too often, it’s alarmingly easy for our teachers to tell which students are likely to succeed or struggle in our classrooms within the first days of kindergarten.
We know that a significant number of Nebraska’s children arrive at kindergarten unprepared to learn. In fact, more than 64,000 children ages birth-5 are at risk of failing in school. Of these, about 30,000 are infants and toddlers who are not receiving the kinds of early experiences known to support strong brain development during the first three years of life.