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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

• The eligibility requirements for slots are so strict, the application processes so complicated, the information provided around slots available in “real-time” so limited, and the sliding-scale fees so high that hundreds of thousands of low-wage working mothers remain unserved while – at the same time – a significant number of care slots remain unfilled. • Center-based providers are so under-funded that an estimated 40 percent of those centers operate at a deficit, and all offer salaries so low that some staff members cannot afford childcare for their own children. Similarly, the compensation, training and ongoing reinforcement offered to family childcare providers is rarely substantial enough to support their vital efforts. And – once children enter elementary school – lowwage mothers’ options for obtaining subsidized, wrap-around after-school and vacation coverage disappear almost entirely. Significant additional advocacy, planning and investment is needed to: (1) reduce the low-wage employment sector’s ability to demand work shifts that are simultaneously unpredictable and inflexible; (2) better fund and deploy the publicly subsidized pre-school childcare supports available to lowincome working mothers; and (3) create solid, affordable after-school and vacation care options for low-income children once they enter school. Finally, NYC’s childcare tax credit laws do little for most of the low-wage families who struggle to pay for care. The benefits conferred by those laws are restricted to families that earn less than $30,000 a year – and whose children are under the age of three. Huge numbers of families already excluded from the subsidized system are thereby offered absolutely no relief.

THE BEST ALLIES: PROMOTING GIRLS’ LEARNING The experts agree: During the first eight years of life, nurturing and learning are irrevocably intertwined. Little girls do best when their parents regularly read, talk and play with them; when their teachers pay strong attention to all their interconnected cognitive, physical and social-emotional needs; and when teachers and parents strategically reinforce one another’s efforts. The experts agree: During the first eight years of a girl’s life, nurturing and learning are irrevocably intertwined. As noted above, the EarlyLearn system strongly promotes both parental participation and ageappropriate teaching methods. Nonetheless, it reaches only a small segment of the children of lowwage working mothers. And – outside of Head Start – there are almost no high-quality affordable early learning supports available for children of non-working low-income mothers. What is more, once low-income girls enter Kindergarten, the twinned core goals of supporting “parents as first teachers” and “teachers as strong nurturers” disappear almost entirely. The experts stress that few schools in low-income neighborhoods invest sufficient resources into creating strong parent-teacher partnerships. They note that recess, sandboxes, blocks and imaginative play have all but disappeared from K-2 classrooms and that teachers spend most of the day simply drilling their very young students to pass the system’s standardized tests. A few nonprofits and a few enlightened schools have been working diligently to counter these counterproductive trends. The best efforts include:

The New York Women’s Foundation

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Blueprint for Investing in Girls Age 0-8  

Experts in the area of early childhood development explain that for little girls, the period between birth and age eight comprises a coheren...