The Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children will begin a three-year project to engage communities across Idaho regarding the importance of high-quality early learning programs for children.
Building Idaho’s Early Learning Foundation project is funded by a $450,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Michigan.
“Access to affordable, high-quality early learning programs is a challenge for many families across Idaho,” said Beth Oppenheimer, executive director of Idaho AEYC. “The project begins by listening to parents to understand their current perception, wants, desires and knowledge around the importance of early learning. Once we know that, we can then strengthen community awareness around the importance of building foundational skills for school and increase local demand for access to high-quality programs for all children.”
Efforts of the project will focus on a three-year, statewide community outreach plan that will: research communities across the state to clearly understand their perceptions and understanding about high-quality early learning; educate parents, families and community leaders about the importance of high-quality early learning; and build awareness and support by local communities and state leaders to invest in high-quality programs for young children.
Research begins this year and will target both large and small populous communities throughout Idaho. The research findings will guide the development of long-and short-term communication plans to build community support for investments and opportunities in supporting our youngest learners.
“Every community throughout Idaho is unique and the approach to investing in early learning must meet the needs of our diverse population,” Oppenheimer said. “By understanding Idahoans true perceptions of quality early learning, we will be better prepared to develop a statewide infrastructure of early learning programs that will best fit each individual community’s needs.”
About Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children (Idaho AEYC)
The nonprofit Idaho AEYC is dedicated to advancing Idaho's early learning profession and advocating for children and families. The organization was founded in 1986 and is headquartered in Boise, Idaho. Learn more at idahoaeyc.org
About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.
The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit www.wkkf.org.