Early Learning Efforts in White Center and East Yakima Show Progress in Preparing Children for Kindergarten
SEATTLE, August 12, 2009 — Thrive by Five Washington and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today announced $8 million in new, joint funding to support two community partnerships that were launched last year and show progress in helping prepare children to enter kindergarten ready to learn. Research shows that kids who have access to high-quality early learning experiences are more likely to be successful in school and life.
In order to better prepare kids to start school, the partnerships – also called Thrive Demonstration Communities – are testing new ways to provide the best child care and early learning opportunities for children and their families. Each community’s partnership is a model for what can be done to substantially increase access to high-quality early learning opportunities for children from birth to age 5. Each will receive $4 million over the next year, as a second round of funding to continue their work.
The White Center Early Learning Initiative received $11.7 million in a first round of funding last year; East Yakima’s Ready by Five received $5 million.
“The two communities are working hard and with a sense of urgency to create the partnerships, programs and seamless network of supports and opportunities we desire for all young children and their families,” said Nina Auerbach, president and CEO of Thrive by Five Washington, which oversees the work in the two communities. “Within the first year, they have shown amazing enthusiasm and progress, and we’re very excited to begin year two.”
Some highlights from the past year’s work include:
In White Center, the White Center Early Learning Initiative:
* Broke ground on and completed fundraising for the nation’s 20th Educare early learning hub, which will open this winter. Educare is a national model for high-quality child care.
* Started the Outreach Doula program, a home-visiting program that will support Somali and Latino families with health, development and early learning information before their child’s birth and for up to two years after that, if needed.