WATERVILLE, Maine — The national network of Educare schools — which includes Educare Central Maine — was highlighted on NBC’s Education Nation on Monday as an innovative education program that is demonstrating success in preparing low-income children for kindergarten.
Educare was chosen by NBC’s Education Nation because of the successes it has achieved in using research-based approaches to help young children, aged birth to 5, learn the language, early math and social skills they need for school success.
Educare is also a leading early education model for engaging parents in their child’s development and education. NBC’s video about Educare can be seen at www.educationnation.org.
“We’re thrilled to receive national recognition for the great work that our teachers and staff do every day to improve the lives of our children and families,” Kathy Colfer, director of Educare Central Maine and Kennebec Valley Community Action Program’s Child and Family Services, said.
“We’re helping our children, the incoming classes of our area K-12 schools, to develop lifelong educational skills and a love of learning, as we partner with their parents to build strong skills for supporting their child’s education, as well as their own,” added Eric Haley, superintendent of Waterville public schools and AOS 92.
Educare Central Maine, or ECM, serves 217 children ages 6 weeks to 5 years in its early learning and teaching center and is in its second full year of operation. It serves the area’s low-income children in high-quality, full-day year-round early education and care.
ECM is one of 17 schools in the Educare Learning Network, which serves 2,600 children across the country. The first school opened in Chicago in 2000. Educare aims to prevent the achievement gap that takes root between children in poverty and their middle-income peers long before they enter kindergarten.
“Educare demonstrates that if we start early, we can help low-income children arrive at kindergarten with the skills they need to succeed,” said Portia Kennel, executive director of the Educare Learning Network and creator of the Educare model. “Educare Schools are leveling the playing field with our high-quality program and by advocating for sound public policies that benefit all children in poverty.”
Each Educare school is a public-private partnership among Head Start and Early Head Start providers, local school districts, private philanthropy and business leaders. Educare Central Maine’s other partners include Kennebec Valley Community College, Thomas College and Colby Colleges, the University of Maine at Farmington, Inland and Maine General Hospitals, Barrel’s Market, the city of Waterville, the Community Dental Clinic, Kennebec Behavioral Health, the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter, Hardy Girls, Healthy Women, and Good Will-Hinckley’s Academy of Natural Sciences among others.
Decades of research shows that early childhood education works. Young children in poverty who attend high-quality early learning programs are more likely to graduate from high school, go to college and earn more as an adult. Economists say that every dollar invested in early learning programs saves $7-$10 by cutting future spending on remedial education, criminal justice and costly social programs.
Learn more at www.educareschools.org.