Think about preschool for a minute. What role has preschool played in your life? As for myself, I remember going to 2 different preschools in New York. My kids have gone to preschool; some loved it and others preferred to lie down on the floor to go to sleep instead of participate. Even so, I have seen the benefits in my kids - from their attitudes towards school and how they get along with other classmates, to solidifying letter sounds and learning how to follow classroom rules.
Not every family even has the option for preschool because of cost. In Utah, many kids from low-income neighborhoods begin kindergarten without knowing their basic A-B-Cs, or knowing that we read from left to right, or even knowing how to follow directions in a classroom. There is an achievement gap of 16% in language arts between economically advantaged and disadvantaged children; in areas affected by poverty the gap grows to 29%. This gaps costs Utah millions of dollars in remedial services.
Simply put, without preschool as an option, many children enter kindergarten at a severe disadvantage, requiring various resources to catch them up to be on par with their peers and basic academic standards.
United Way of Salt Lake is acting on these local needs. HB96 – Utah School Readiness Initiative – has already passed out of the House with a 49-24 vote, and is now going to the Senate. They’ve made it very easy for all of us to get involved by sending emails to, or calling, our Senators to let them know that we want this to pass. You don’t even need to know who your legislators are – simply click on the Email Legislators link and share your personal message: Why is preschool important to you? When you click send your message is sent directly to your state Senator.
This benefits our economy as well. As Scott Anderson (President & CEO, Zions Bank) points out, “Economically, investing in preschool simply makes sense. Utah could avoid spending around $30 million per year if at-risk children had access to high-quality preschool.”
Kindergarten is a critical time in a child’s academic career. Help them begin their schooling years with confidence and the advantages that attending preschool can give them.
REMEMBER: Let your voice to heard to vote YES on HB96. So often the only voices heard are those opposing a bill so join this conversation – it only takes about 2 minutes of your time. Click on the Email Legislators link and share your story. And then tell your friends.
*For more information, here’s a video, just under six minutes long, explaining many of the benefits of investing in preschool:
This post is sponsored by Today's Mama and United Way of Salt Lake, and all opinions are my own.