Have a Heart for Kids Day rally, 2015

Media Release: State Senator Pramila Jayapal honored for expanding high-quality early learning

Adam 08/17/16

SEATTLE—State Senator Pramila Jayapal (D-37th) was honored for her commitment to the first five years of a child’s life today with a Crayon Award from the Early Learning Action Alliance.

The award was presented to Sen. Jayapal at a Rainier Valley preschool by representatives of the Early Learning Action Alliance and other advocates for quality early learning. The event was attended by families from throughout greater Seattle.

“Every child should have the right to access quality care,” said Zam Zam Mohamed, co-founder of Voices of Tomorrow, which aids child care providers in the East African immigrant community to meet state-level quality criteria. “Senator Jayapal has always been a strong advocate in early learning because she understands that school readiness is for every child.”

“As the state grapples with its paramount duty to provide education, we know that foundation for success is built in the earliest years,” said Children’s Alliance deputy director Jon Gould. “Access to high-quality early learning is critical to closing the gap for children who start out with fewer opportunities. Sen. Jayapal understands that early learning builds strong kids and strong communities. Her public service has improved opportunities for the children of her district and our state.”

“Senator Jayapal stands with our union,” said Kathy Yasi, vice president of SEIU Local 925, which represents more than 12,000 family child care facilities across Washington. “She stands with providers and we can count on her. We are proud she is getting this award.”

Senator Jayapal’s award was presented at La Escuelita Bilingual School, which provides a dual-language early child care environment with a bilingual, bicultural curriculum that fosters the holistic development of each child. The Early Start Act, which she helped to pass in the 2015 legislative session, contains provisions designed to promote quality, culturally relevant early learning for children of diverse family backgrounds.

“Quality is the ability to relate to and provide for all of the needs of a child,” said Sen. Jayapal as she accepted the award. The desired outcome, she said, is “making sure that our kids are proud of the cultures they come from and prepared for the path going forward.”

Since 2010, the Early Learning Action Alliance has recognized the work of legislators in early learning with Crayon Awards. Sen. Jayapal is among 18 legislators across the state receiving Crayon Awards for their work on early learning policy. These leaders understand that children need high-quality, culturally relevant care to help them become resilient, successful learners. Investments in the first years of a child’s life are critical to closing the gap for children starting out with fewer opportunities.

While Crayon Awards recognize achievements over the 2015 and 2016 legislative sessions, the Early Learning Action Alliance sees these policymakers as continuing leaders who are poised to grow their colleagues’ understanding about the importance of early learning and urge positive policies and investments for young children within the legislature.

The award event was a nonprofit 501(c)(3) permissible activity and cannot be connected to any election-related intent or activity.

See the full list of Crayon Awardees here.

Download a copy of this media release.