CLOSING THE GAP
An Assessment of Indiana's Early Learning Opportunities
Access to early learning programs has historically been reduced to a quantifiable analysis of supply and demand. These studies are useful in determining whether there are enough spots in early care and education programs to meet the perceived demand within a given geographic boundary. Where they fall short, however, is in qualifying how well the supply meets the needs of the population, beyond simply ensuring there are enough seats for children who may be in need.
We have developed a new methodology, the Early Learning Access Index, that attempts to both qualify and quantify child care access throughout Indiana. This method moves away from viewing access as simply a capacity supply and demand equation and layers in the additional components of quality, affordability and choice. These four elements, viewed in context with one another, offer a more robust assessment of Hoosier families’ ability to access early learning opportunities that suit their needs.
How to Use This Report
High-quality early care and learning helps children develop the essential skills they need for success in kindergarten and beyond. Ensuring access to this care and education is a community-wide issue. Stakeholders, community leaders and providers can use this report to:
for action-focused conversations
Your community can create targeted solutions to address local child care access gaps. The challenge is great, but the opportunity to build a system of more equitable access for Hoosier children is greater. Consider these five questions:
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