New Haven, Conn.–On Thursday, ConnCAN released Lessons From the Field: Profiles of Quality Early Childhood Education Programs and Implications for Connecticut, building off a 2015 report, Early Childhood Education in Connecticut: Analysis and Implications.

The report profiles five early childhood providers operating across the country: CAP Tulsa, Acelero Learning, City Garden Montessori, AppleTree Early Learning, and Boston Public Schools pre-k. The programs were selected because each one has strong, independent evidence of quality and effectiveness. ConnCAN is releasing the report to coincide with the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s (NAEYC) annual Week of the Young Child, which celebrates early learning, young children, their teachers, and families.

Following the report’s publication Jennifer Alexander, CEO of ConnCAN issued the following statement:

“We are excited to release these case studies on high-quality early childhood education providers, which were selected based on independent research and evidence of effectiveness. A quality education is critical to closing our state’s opportunity gap and renewing Connecticut’s economy. Improving educational opportunities for all children starts with access to high-quality early childhood education programs.

Research shows that the cycle of educational inequity starts early and that children’s early experiences have a critical impact on their later learning. Lessons From the Field profiles out-of-state early childhood providers with proven track records of success. Evidence shows that children enrolled in these programs make meaningful learning gains and enter school prepared to succeed.

We know that high-quality early childhood programs can mitigate the impact of disparities in early learning experiences and get our young learners on track for a successful school experience. However, too many of our young children are at risk of falling behind academically. Connecticut is home to nearly 200,000 children under the age of 5, and one in six of those children lives in poverty. Research shows that by the time they enter kindergarten, many children in poverty are already up to 12 months behind their more-advantaged peers in math and reading. We must close this gap. Our youngest children deserve a fair chance to succeed, regardless of race, family income or zip code.

While our state has made significant progress towards providing a more coherent system for our children, the fact that we were not able to identify any Connecticut programs with independent evaluations of their impact is concerning. Each year Connecticut spends approximately $300 million in early childhood programming and efforts to expand access to early childhood options, we want to ensure that providers and policymakers work towards ensuring program effectiveness and providing families with access to information on high-quality programs. Excellence depends on high standards and accountability, and Connecticut needs a solid, transparent strategy to determine and publicly report on the quality of the education programs for our youngest citizens.”

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