A child’s early years are astonishingly important. Consider this fact alone: 85% of brain development happens in the first three years of life. Furthemore, pre-k childcare and education provide important building blocks, including physical, social, and emotional development - along with language and learning behaviors such as literacy and math skills.
The benefits of early education don’t stop with academics. Access to preschool is connected to lower rates of delinquency, crime, substance abuse, and teenage pregnancy - along with higher rates of employment and educational attainment. Studies show a return of $17 for every dollar invested in early care and education. That’s incredible.
Unfortunately, in the U.S., there severe issues in terms of supply, quality, and support. According to the U.S. Department of Education, “fewer than three in ten 4-year-olds are enrolled in a high-quality preschool program.” It doesn’t have to be this way. The current realities of the U.S. system are in sharp contrast to many other countries, such as Japan and the United Kingdom, who enroll nearly all children in preschool programs. The U.S. ranks 26th in the world in access to early learning for 4-year-olds.
What’s being done?
We are thankful to see that early education is getting more attention at both the federal and state levels. Nationally, the importance of early learning and childcare has been championed by the Obama administration. Individual states are also turning their attention to early education. 40 states have zero-to-five based programs that provide state dollars for early childhood services, and 30 of them have recently increased funding. These are positive steps in the right direction. But there’s more to be done.
What we’re doing.
We here at brightwheel believe passionately in the importance of early education, and have come together to do something about it. Since our launch last year, we are hearing from schools and families around the globe that brightwheel is having a measurable impact.
For educators, the brightwheel platform streamlines administrative and educational activities - everything from communication to assessment to photo sharing or even billing - into one simple app. For parents, the brightwheel mobile app provides a real-time window into their child’s day - helping parents engage more deeply and build on learning at home. We know that parents - along with teachers - are such a critical part of the equation. We are so excited and proud of these early success stories.
But this is just the beginning. We have lofty goals to continue improving the lives of administrators, teachers, parents, and young students. We are working to bring innovation to an industry that serves our most important resource and what should be our greatest national investment: our children.