Have a Heart for Kids Day rally, 2015

Expand the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program: Every Child Deserves a Great Start

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The Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) is quality preschool that’s good for kids, parents and schools.

Washington has some of the highest child-care (including preschool) costs in the nation. That means some kids, disproportionately kids in low-income families and children of color, miss out on early experiences in preschool that can help them have a great childhood and thrive in kindergarten. ECEAP expands equitable access to high-quality, culturally responsive preschool.

ECEAP is an evidence-based strategy for promoting K-12 student success. Studies show that third-, fourth- and fifth-graders who had been enrolled in ECEAP do better academically than peers who hadn’t had the same opportunity.

Skilled early-childhood educators build great kids. Early childhood educators are teaching our youngest children during their important early years. They deserve ample resources to build connections that help children learn their whole lives.

 ECEAP is a proven investment in kids and families: In particular, ECEAP:

  • Strengthens families by involving parents and caregivers.
  • Prioritizes children with special needs, and whose families have low-incomes, are homeless, or are involved in the child welfare system.
  • Addresses racial inequities by providing access to high-quality, culturally responsive preschool.
  • Builds student success. The quality child-teacher experiences kids enjoy in ECEAP lay the groundwork for a solid education in K-12.

Lawmakers should expand ECEAP in 2017: Invest in access and quality, making sure more children can enroll and that providers can recruit and retain highly qualified early childhood educators.

Download this brief as a PDF.