There are more than 90 licensed early child care and preschool organizations in the Ypsilanti community, both public and private. In addition to helping parents find and keep jobs, high-quality early childhood education can provide the boost young children need during the period of their lives when their brains are developing most rapidly—ultimately improving their chances of succeeding in school and the workforce. When support of a child’s early learning needs is compromised, serious deficits can last a lifetime.
Today, extreme challenges confront the providers of early childhood education, particularly in areas where poverty is common. As a result, we have 100 licensed early child care and education providers closing their doors in Michigan every month. Those who keep doors open often struggle with similar issues.
Challenges include finding and keeping qualified teachers, being able to pay them a reasonable wage and support their professional development, addressing serious trauma in children, negotiating the complex world of subsidies, gaining support from legislators for the real challenges on the ground, and a host of others.
Washtenaw Promise works to support early childhood education in the community by facilitating more information sharing, more collaborative problem solving and more connection to resources. We want early childhood educators and providers to thrive, to be sustainable and healthy, and to know that the work they do provides children the very foundation needed for success in the world today.
Washtenaw promise has partnered with the Child Care Network (CCN) of Washtenaw County and the Washtenaw Intermediate School District (WISD) to provide an ongoing series of meetings and follow up discussions to which all providers are invited and encouraged to participate. Our newly formed “Ypsilanti Early Education Providers Partnership” gathered on May 2nd, 2019, and again on July 25th, to begin to identify common ground issues and challenges, to develop strategies for working together to address those challenges, and action teams to improve our future.
The collaboration is designed as an opportunity for organizational leaders and practitioners to gain new information, learn about new resources, meet and talk with others who share similar challenges, and to initiate positive change that can benefit all who support young children and their families.