The importance of the birth-to-three years cannot be overstated. Nor can the importance of empowering parents. Doulas and home visitors partner with families when they are most vulnerable: throughout pregnancy and the first three years of a child’s life. They forge open, trusting relationships with the parents that allow them to deliver coaching, mentoring and knowledge. They are too often the unknown and unsung heroes of successful, comprehensive early learning systems.
Parents make the ultimate leap of faith when they leave their child at an early learning school or program. They trust the school to nurture, protect and educate their child. High-quality programs partner with parents to set children on the path to success before they enter the formal K–12 educational system. And high-quality programs are driven by strong leaders and talented, dedicated teachers.
Early learning schools and programs play a pivotal role in communities. They are a welcoming haven where parents meet, network, learn and connect to other services in the community. Parent meetings, resource groups and everyday interactions with peers and teachers provide support for parents at the beginning of their child’s academic career. The tools and skills they learn empower them with a strong voice as they navigate their child’s path through the education system. The schools are a collective voice for those who need it most.