Arlington Times


The importance of Early Learning | GUEST OPINION

August 14, 2013 · 7:57 AM

Washington State’s Early Learning Plan is a renewed effort to improve the services for our youngest learners. The vision statement, developed in 2010 as a collaborative effort between state and local stakeholders, captures the overarching purpose of the Washington State Early Learning Plan.

“In Washington, we work together so that all children start life with a solid foundation for success based on strong families and a world-class early learning system for all children prenatal through third grade.  Accessible, accountable, and developmentally and culturally appropriate, our system partners with families to ensure that every child is healthy, capable, and confident in school and in life.”

The principles of the Washington State Early Learning Plan are grounded in research and are designed to serve all children from prenatal through third grade. The plan calls for schools, government agencies, health care providers, private childcare providers, and community groups to come together to build a comprehensive, accessible early learning system that will serve families and children in all capacities.

As a district, we are working diligently to address our areas of responsibility. District goals include increasing communication with families, strengthening partnerships with community childcare and healthcare providers, continual staff professional development, improving identification of children who qualify for birth to 5 programs, and aligning prekindergarten through third grade instructional and programmatic practices.  In addition to serving our kindergarten through third grade students, the district has the following services available for our birth to 5-year-old population.

There is little dispute about the importance of investing in early learning and the long-term outcomes that result. Scientists have proven that the human brain develops more rapidly between birth and age five than during any other subsequent period. Capitalizing on this window of opportunity and exposing young children to constant and varied experiences is very likely to set the course for a successful school career and beyond.

Outside of formal preschool experiences, there are many things parents can do to help their child prepare for kindergarten. The Washington Department of Early Learning (del.wa.gov) is just one resource that has a wealth of information for families.  Below is a snapshot of items found on the site’s kindergarten readiness checklist:

Educating our children is the world’s most important work, and the Arlington School District is committed to providing a strong start for all children so that they may finish strong.

Terri Bookey, Director of Grants and Early Learning for the Arlington School District, can be reached by calling 360-618-6210 or via email at tbookey@asd.wednet.edu.







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