Virginia – Early Childhood Professionals Day Proclamation

Posted on May 6, 2022Comments Off on Virginia – Early Childhood Professionals Day Proclamation

Governor Youngkin Celebrates Commonwealth’s Early Childhood Public-Private Choice System and Signs Proclamation Honoring Educators

RICHMOND, VA (STL.News) Governor Glenn Youngkin and First Lady Suzanne Youngkin today visited River’s Bend Children’s Center in Chester, Virginia, a private preschool serving children supported by the publicly funded child care subsidy program. Governor Youngkin also signed the Child Care and Early Childhood Professionals Day Proclamation to recognize and celebrate the contributions of early childhood educators.

“The early childhood public-private choice system we are building has the potential to be the model for the nation,” said Governor Youngkin.  “Early childhood education and care is critical to our youngest learners and their families.  These educators are the workforce that supports the Commonwealth’s workforce, and we thank them today and every day. When our children are getting ready for kindergarten, they are getting ready for life.”

Startlingly, 42% of children across the Commonwealth begin kindergarten without key skills in literacy, numeracy, self-regulation, social skills, or a combination of the measures.  In response, Governor Youngkin’s Administration has prioritized increasing access and choice, strengthening quality to support kindergarten readiness, and using data to improve impact in early childhood education and care.

“The Governor and I know that parents are our children’s first and most important teachers,” said First Lady Youngkin. “But they cannot do this all alone.  They rely on family, friends, communities, and, importantly, early childhood education and care.  We’re honored to help celebrate the Commonwealth’s child care and early childhood educators, who are making all the difference.”

Early childhood education and care providers, educators, and stakeholders shared their concerns with persistent staffing shortages, which they said limit their ability to serve more families.  In fact, a recent Virginia survey found that staffing challenges made more than half of directors serve fewer children or turn away families.  It also found more than a third of directors reduced class offerings due to staffing challenges.

“Childcare and early childhood professionals are often unsung heroes,” said Kathy Glazer, president of the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation.  “Virginia’s families count on these dedicated educators as partners in providing safe, learning-rich experiences for young children while parents earn a living and support their families.”

Virginia learners from low-income households who do not attend preschool are 25% more likely to not be ready compared to other kindergarteners across the Commonwealth.  Data also shows that Virginia children who enter kindergarten least prepared are half as likely to read proficiently by third grade.

“Quality early childhood education isn’t a nice-to-have; it is a must-have,” said Aimee Guidera, Secretary of Education. “We know this in our hearts and from our personal experiences, but the data also tells us this.  Expanding access and choice through our early childhood education system is one of the greatest investments we can make in our future.”

The Child Care and Early Childhood Professionals Day Proclamation proclamation is available here.

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