Think back to the year 1995. Just 18 years ago, you needed a video camera, VCR, Polaroid, Walkman, computer, wristwatch, television, and a cell phone the size of a brick to do what you can do today with a smart phone. Back then, only one in ten adults knew what it meant to “surf the net.”
Babies born this year will make up the graduating class of 2033. When should education begin to prepare these children to meet the challenges awaiting them then? At age three when they can enroll in pre-school? Age five when they start kindergarten?
The answer is now. Readiness to enter school, and to reach every educational milestone thereafter, begins at birth. That’s why School Readiness Kits created by United Way include a chart of developmental milestones from birth to age five, and a link to the Ages & Stages Questionnaire. This assessment tool helps parents track their child’s progress in communication, problem-solving, social, gross- and fine-motor skills.
Results of the questionnaire, repeated at regular intervals, are emailed to parents. For the many families in our community who cannot afford frequent well-child check-ups, these assessments serve to identify potential issues with a child’s development so guardians may follow up with a pediatrician, teacher or other professional. The assessment is available in English and Spanish.
The steps to succeeding in school and life are on a birth-to-career continuum. Failure at any stage along the way may come at an enormous cost to the entire community. A paper published by Helios Education Foundation states:Arizona now increasingly competes with a global array of economic rivals. If it is to develop, attract and retain well paying, high-skill industries that will pay good wages and enhance the quality of life for all Arizonans, the state must have a critical mass of trained workers and the promise of more to come.
On the other hand, the benefits of investing in a student’s education are just as dramatic. In a New York Times article, economics professors from Cornell and Princeton Universities noted:When the costs of investment to produce a new graduate are taken into account, there is a return of $1.45 to $3.55 for every dollar of investment, depending upon the educational intervention strategy. Under this estimate, each new graduate confers a net benefit to taxpayers of about $127,000 over the graduate’s lifetime.
Your gift of $29.99 buys a School Readiness Kit to effectively prepare a Valley child for school, a critical milestone toward long-term success. Support a quality education for just one child and you create a more successful future for everyone in our community.