Invest in a Strong Start for Children: Create New, High-Quality Early Learning Centers and Schools

Part of our recent guidance: Invest in a Strong Start for Children: a Toolkit for Donors

Educare-SnapshotHigh-quality childcare and preschool can have lasting positive impact on children who might otherwise face stumbling blocks on the path to school readiness, academic success, and a productive life. But for many families in the U.S., high-quality care is too expensive, has too long a wait-list, or is difficult to find.  National data shows that millions of low-income childnre, from birth to age five, are not being served by any center-based childcare, nursery, or preschool, let alone one classfied as high-qaulity.   One solution? Increase access to high-quality early education programs tailored to meet the needs of disadvantaged children in the neighborhoods where their families live and/or work.  (For examples of the elements of high-quality care, see the wheel at the right).

EducareTM provides full-day, full-year schooling for low-income children from birth to age five to ensure kindergarten readiness and set students up for success. Educare builds new school buildings to serve large numbers of children and to provide them with classroom space tailored to their needs. In addition to high-quality classroom instruction, the Educare approach emphasizes continuity of care, ongoing data collection to assess progress and inform instruction, and support to enhance positive parent-child relationships outside of the classroom.

Since its launch in 2000, 20 Educare sites have opened in high-need communities across the U.S, with each school serving 140 – 200 children. Data shows significant impact with Educare students performing at or close to the national mean on tests of school readiness, as if they had no risk factors. Educare students also go on to surpass their peers with fewer risk factors on district and state level standardized tests for reading and math in 3rd grade. Educare is funded through public-private partnerships, with philanthropic dollars covering most costs. The costs range from $8-$12 million for one-time construction, and operation costs stand at $2.8-$3.4 million per year.  Per-child costs range from $4,000 (for one year of participation) to $20,000 (for five years of participation).

By improving the affordability and accessibility of high-quality care, programs like Educare open the door to a lifetime of potential for vulnerable children.

Use this online mapping tool to locate current Educare programs and their local implementing partners, or find out more about the program by contacting Educare’s national partners: the Ounce of Prevention Fund and the Buffett Early Childhood Fund.  Visit Invest in a Strong Start for Children: a Toolkit for Donors to learn more about other high impact investments in early childhood.