This op-ed by Alyssa Garnett-Arno, Executive Director of Saint Mary Villa Child Development Center appeared in The Tennessee Tribune.
Amid the economic and population growth that all of us are celebrating in Nashville is an alarming decline in the most important part of Nashville’s educational landscape, a decline that has long-term consequences for our community – early childhood education.
All parents want their children to have the best possible start in life, and the importance of early childhood education is well documented. It provides children with strategies that help them develop the emotional, social, and cognitive skills needed to become lifelong learners. It creates the foundation for language and literacy, for thinking, for self-control, and for self-confidence. According to studies, children who are in childcare centers beginning at six months of age are better prepared to enter PreK and kindergarten, read at or above grade level by 1st grade, and form stronger social bonds with their peers.
Unquestionably, this time is important to their children’s long-term health, education and well-being.
The problem in this city and across the country is that opportunity has not always been available to every family or child. The simple fact is that a parent’s zip code or income often determines what type of start that child will receive. And because of the pandemic, when many young children are desperately in need of the social and academic benefits of child development centers, many of these centers have closed, creating high demand for quality, affordable childcare that far outweighs current availability. This leaves parents with nowhere to turn.
Read the full story in The Tennessee Tribune at the link below.