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 promoting healthy child development. Programs focused on the development of children from birth to age five are rarely regarded as economic development initiatives. However, quality early care and education offset many of the risk factors children face due to socio-economic circumstances, providing a unique opportunity for long-term individual and public benefits.
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
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.
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.
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.
Our Areas of Focus
Leading on Opportunity has five areas of focus. We take a systemic approach to addressing the key determinants of Early Care and Education, Child and Family Stability and College and Career Readiness while simultaneously focusing on the cross-cutting factors of the Impact of Segregation and Social Capital. When addressed together, we believe these can have the greatest impacts on the opportunity trajectory of an individual.