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What does pprre-sschool have to do with community development? Gwynn Stewart, MS OSU Community Development Educator OSU Extension - Noble County

As the Community Development Educator for OSU Extension in Noble County, I have experience with a couple of Ohio’s P-20 Councils. The “P” in P-20 is pre-school (or even pre-natal to age 4) and the 20 is through graduate school. A P-20 council realizes that education does not begin and end at the K-12 classroom doors. Their members are community partners, social service leaders, educators, legislators, and business owners. P-20s offer community and business leaders and educators an opportunity to explore and act upon issues around early childhood development, school readiness, parent and student engagement in the learning process and college/career readiness while encouraging economic self-sufficiency. Recently, a speaker from the Dayton area traveled across Ohio to join folks from across the Appalachian portion of the state at the Appalachian P-20 meeting. James Spurlino, CEO of Spurlino Materials, a concrete company, spent some time helping everyone in attendance understand the business case for high-quality early childhood education. He used the metaphor of quality concrete (being made from quality materials in a quality process) as the basis for a solid foundation in any building project. Like the building of minds, birth to pre-school serves as the child’s foundation. As part of the Ready Nation effort, business executives like Spurlino are working to build a skilled workforce by promoting solutions that prepare children to succeed in education, work and life. This emphasis doesn’t just come from a hunch, it’s based on substantial research. Studies show that the early years are so important to a child’s ultimate success in life and in career-readiness. Groups like Ground Work Ohio (groundworkohio.org) are using research to advocate for advancing early learning as the key to increasing lifelong success because they believe brains are built not just born. Research demonstrates the importance of Kindergarten readiness to success at the third-grade reading guarantee which will impact 8th grade test scores and so on and so on. 44

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Spurlino noted that the first five years have so much to do with how the next 80 turn out! The Federal Reserve Bank studied the rate of return on preschool investment and found it to be an 18 percent rate of return! For every one dollar spent, it yielded $8.60 in public benefits. Making the business case for an emphasis on early childhood education, business leaders in Cincinnati and Dayton are focusing on the root cause of why children aren’t ready for careers when they graduate. They are looking carefully at the first 1,000 days of children, focusing on social service wrap-around efforts for health care and are investing early. They are also funding and supporting the Preschool Promise program. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Preschool Promise ultimately will be evaluated not by how many students it is able to enroll, but by how many students go on to graduate high school, attend college and/or obtain gainful employment and careers. In Appalachia, we have resources like coad4kids, a service of the Corporation for Ohio Appalachian Development (COAD) – a coalition of 17 community action agencies (like GMN, Tri-Co., Inc.). They provide free resources for families and child care providers, expert child-raising information and on-site coaching. In addition, the United Way of Guernsey, Monroe and Noble Counties’ Women’s Initiative and the Switzerland of Ohio H.E.L.P. (a P-20 Council) are partnering to provide the Dolly Parton Imagination Library for children in the area. The program ensures that children have books, regardless of their family’s income. Each child enrolled will receive a new, developmentally appropriate book mailed to them each month for one year, and beyond as funding allows. “We are creating a home library of up to 60 books and instilling a love of books and reading from an early age for each child participating in our program,” said Stephanie Laube, Executive Director of United Way of Guernsey, Monroe and Noble Counties. “We are investing in our most vulnerable and

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The Crossroads embrace the journey by Southeast Publications  

A Journalistic journey through Southeastern, Ohio. Diverse community stories puzzles and more.

The Crossroads embrace the journey by Southeast Publications  

A Journalistic journey through Southeastern, Ohio. Diverse community stories puzzles and more.

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