This week, County Commissioner Jasmine Beach-Ferrara attended an ongoing Institute for Emerging Issues event in Raleigh on the importance of early childhood care and education. Early childhood – from birth to age eight – is increasingly identified as the most important time to intervene if children are to reach their full potential.
Across North Carolina and the nation, communities are working to invest in resources to improve early childhood development outcomes for all children. The event not only focused on the importance of quality education from ages 0-5, but steps on how to make it a reality for your community.
The goals of the event Commissioner Beach-Ferrara attended included:
- How much local revenue might be generated within local communities
- Providing sustainable funding
- Potential barriers to funding
- Policy changes necessary to enable these funding initiatives
In attendance at the event were representatives from the NC General Assembly, the Secretary of the NC Department of Health and Human Services, President of the Board of the NC Association of County Commissioners, and elected officials, nonprofit, and private organization representatives from across the state.
Early childhood development is important to our state’s future, and financing successful programs so they include more children is imperative. The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners has already begun the collaborative process to make quality, affordable Pre-K a reality in our community. A new example is a new classroom at the Lonnie D. Burton Child Development Center located in the Southside neighborhood of Asheville. The new classroom will be operated by Community Action Opportunities, and will serve 18 children and families that meet NC Pre-Kindergarten Program requirements.
Previous community collaborative partnerships include classrooms at Johnston Elementary and Eliada. Also, Buncombe County partnered with Asheville City Schools for the Christine Avery Learning Center.
To learn more about why these programs are imperative, the current need and climate, and opportunities to expand access, contact the Asheville-Buncombe Preschool Planning Collaborative at www.abppc.org.