Early Care & Education

Early Care & Education

A child’s earliest years have a profound and lasting impact on their school success, their career success, and their lives.

Those who care for and educate young children– parents and families, caregivers, teachers – are essential to their healthy development. Programs focused on the development of children from birth to age five are rarely regarded as economic development initiatives. However, education serves as an equalizer with the potential to nullify the deficits many children face due to socio-economic circumstance, providing a unique opportunity for long-term public benefit.

Quality early care and education have resounding effects. They lay the groundwork for individuals to complete high school and postsecondary education, while decreasing the likelihood of the need for public assistance and chances of coming into contact with the criminal justice system. Research shows that children enrolled in high quality preschool programs are less likely to repeat grades, less likely to run into trouble with the law, and typically earn around $2,000 more per month as adults than those not enrolled.

Strategies to Address Early Care and Education

  • Strategy C/3

    Make the necessary investments to ensure all children in Mecklenburg County from birth to age five have access to quality early childhood care and education.

  • Strategy D/4

    Strengthen the early care and education workforce to improve the quality and experiences of early care and education available to children ages birth to five.

  • Strategy E/5

    Support parents and other caregivers as a child’s first teacher in promoting positive early brain development, social and emotional health and early literacy beginning at birth.

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Agents of Change

Leading on Opportunity works alongside community to improve early care and education.

Yuly Rodriguez

Community Impact Director

Stephanie Kripa Cooper-Lewter, Ph.D.

Executive Director

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Early Care & Education.

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Meeting Presents Opportunity to Galvanize Community for Lakeview

WSOC • Kevin Campbell - August 28, 2019

“We need to lift up potential bright spots in neighborhoods like Lakeview,” Cooper-Lewter said. “If things are going to change, we have to have conversations and work.”

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Community Conversation: The American Dream vs. Charlotte Reality

WBTV • Dedrick Russell - July 26, 2019

Featuring Leading on Opportunity Executive Director Stephanie Cooper-Lewter, Leading on Opportunity Council Member and County Manager Dena Diorio, and community organizations like Crisis Assistance Ministries, Central Piedmont Community College, the Urban League of Central Carolinas, Meck Pre-K, and Workforce Investment Network.

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The Economist Who Would Fix the American Dream

The Atlantic • Gareth Cook - July 17, 2019

"No one has done more to dispel the myth of social mobility than Raj Chetty. But he has a plan to make equality of opportunity a reality ... In Charlotte ... Opportunity Insights is planning housing and higher-education initiatives, but social capital is at the center of its approach. It is working with a local organization called Leading on Opportunity, and looking at nonprofits that are already operating successfully, including Communities in Schools, a national group that provides comprehensive student support, as well as a job-training program called Year Up."

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We invite you to join our movement to increase pathways to opportunity and upward mobility for all children, youth and families.

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