Early Learning

We must invest in early learning so that Washington’s kids have a real chance at success.

We know for a fact that investments in high-quality early education are some of the best we can make. For every dollar invested in early learning, students and society experience returns of up to 16 dollars.1 We also know that 85% of a child’s brain develops before age 5.2 Excellent education in the earliest years has the potential to positively impact a child’s lifetime of learning.

While Washington state has taken some key steps to provide and expand early childhood programs, we must do more to ensure that all children get off to a great start. Reading scores in 3rd grade, a key indicator of future academic success and previous preparation, are down from two years ago; thousands of eligible low-income students do not have access to free preschool programs like the state’s Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP); and the state has been knocked off track from meeting its commitment to provide all-day kindergarten to all students by 2017-2018.

A way forward
  • Increase the number of low-income children served by ECEAP.
  • Increase the funding for and number of all-day kindergarten slots.
  • Continue to increase participation in the Washington Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills (WaKIDS).
  • Align curricula from pre-kindergarten through 3rd grade.
  1. L. J., et al Schweinhart, Lifetime Effects: The High/Scope Perry Preschool Study Through Age 40, Ypsilanti, MI: High/Scope Press, 2005 []
  2. Washington Department of Early Learning, “Why Early Learning Matters,” 2011 []