The first five years of a child’s life are some of the most critical. The billions of neural connections created over these early, active years provide a strong foundation for children to build upon for the rest of their lives.
In Indiana, not all families and children have access to high-quality early care and learning programs due to longstanding systemic barriers. At Early Learning Indiana, we’re committed to action and advocacy that helps overcome these barriers and ultimately provides all Hoosier children with the quality care that empowers them with the essential skills they need to succeed in kindergarten and beyond.
Renewing a Commitment to Quality
All early learning experiences are not created equally. Early Learning Indiana is committed to strengthening existing measures of quality and to expanding the number of early care and education providers carrying out high-quality practices by driving improvement across instructional practice, family engagement and other known levers of quality.
Building an Effective Workforce
The demand for early childhood educators in Indiana is expected to grow 32% between 2017 and 2027, and yet the supply of qualified workers will not meet this demand. We’re partnering with higher education institutions and other stakeholders to strengthen the attraction, preparation and retention of the early learning workforce through innovative models designed to improve provider quality while reducing associated costs.
Closing Local Capacity Gaps
Four out of 10 Hoosier children live in a child care desert, where there is just one early learning seat, or less, for every three children. In fact, 41% of the state has low-to-no access to child care. We’re supporting the growth and sustainability of new and existing high-quality programs in high-need geographies and populations through targeted investments in technical and financial assistance.
Growing System-level Supports
Child care programs operate on razor-thin margins due to the cost of delivering care and families’ abilities to pay for care. Early Learning Indiana is advocating for and supporting the creation of shared services that scale resources and reduce the structural challenges inherent in the early learning industry.
Families play an important role in increasing the quality of early care and learning programs. We work with organizations across the state to educate families on the importance of high-quality early care and learning and ensure they have access to the information they need to make the best choices for their children. As families demand more and better opportunities for their children, more will be made available.