Why Early Learning Matters For Northern Indiana

Posted: Updated:

Governor Eric Holcomb recently signed into law an expansion of funding for Indiana’s On My Way Pre-K programs, an indicator of the state’s growing support for early childhood education. As a result, 15 additional counties will be added to the school readiness initiative, including many in northern Indiana: St. Joseph, Elkhart, Kosciusko, DeKalb and Marshall.

As one among many PNC advocates for early childhood education, I welcome the additional resources to extend young children’s early learning. The support comes at the right time in a young child’s development. The brain is not fully formed at birth, but instead builds 700-1,000 new neural connections per second during the first few years of life as a child interacts with the outside world.

The effect of all this learning and development is nearly invisible to the eye. But the impact on children is immeasurable and often shapes their chances of success in school and life.

Early Learning is Essential

An engaging learning environment is especially relevant for young children. At home, interactions with family members through conversations and play help build vocabulary and the pathways that shape the brain’s ability to organize information. However, a Stanford University study showed income-based disparities in children’s vocabularies by 18 months of age. By age 2, children from lower-income households fell six months behind children in higher-income homes with regard to how quickly they process language.

Fortunately, at-risk pre-K children are more likely to do well when they have access to a quality early education.

Recent research co-authored by Nobel laureate James Heckman further shows that investing in such programs can deliver a 13 percent per year return on investment - a net, long-term benefit of more than $700,000 for every disadvantaged child served. That benefit comes via reduced need for special education and grade repetition, higher wages, increased high school graduation rates and even reduced crime.

School readiness is not an issue we resolve by simply offering pre-k to more at-risk children. As we make these investments, we recognize that they must support high quality early childhood education. By quality, we refer to teacher qualifications and their ongoing professional development, classroom environment and resources, class size and low staff-child ratios. Pre-K educators, in concert with parents and families, can deliver quality early learning opportunities to help children reach their full potential.

And yet, educators, parents and the state cannot be the only ones ensuring that young children get the right start to life. Even the private sector has a role to play in this important issue. Our investment to help teachers build a foundation for high-quality learning was made as part of PNC Grow Up Great®, a $350 million, bilingual multi-year school readiness initiative for children from birth to age 5. Through the program, we will continue to enrich early learning for the benefit of our youngest students. While other business leaders across the state have created similar strides and contributions, we urge more of our fellow business leaders to join us.

As invested members of this community, I ask you to become advocates for quality early education. A well-educated workforce will create opportunities to support a strong economy, keep our state competitive and ensure stability.  Like those who came before us, our children have the potential to become the next, great generation.

Learn more about early childhood education and your child’s future.  Join your voice with ours. We thank the governor and our legislators for their additional commitment to school readiness. With the right investments and proper preparation, our children’s success will match our equally lofty expectations for them.

Corinna Ladd is Northern Indiana Regional President of PNC Bank.

  • Perspectives

    • Tax Planning: Now’s the Time to Tackle It!

      Year-end is still months away, but smart investors have already begun their tax planning. Spending time analyzing your capital-gain situation could benefit you come next April 15th, no matter what investment vehicles you use - individual securities, mutual funds, exchange traded funds, or others. Here's how…

    More

Subscribe

Name:
Company Name:
Email:
Confirm Email:
HTML
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections
INPower
Subscribe
Unsubscribe

Events



  • Most Popular Stories

    • Indy Hotels Among Top in Midwest

      Three Indianapolis hotels are among Condé Nast Traveler's Top 25 Hotels in the Midwest. The rankings include two hotels that have made the list three years in a row and one making its debut. The JW Marriott Indianapolis ranks third on this year's list, followed by The Conrad, which is eighth and Ironworks Hotels appearing on the list for the first time at number 17. You can see the full rankings by...

    • Ambrose Amps up Ambition For Old GM Stamping Site

      An Indianapolis-based developer has greatly expanded its original investment plans for the city's former GM Stamping Plant site. Ambrose Property Group's vision now includes projects totaling nearly $1.4 billion, more than doubling the $550 million scope detailed last year. During a community event Friday, the company and Mayor Joe Hogsett announced the name of the more than 100-acre, downtown district: Waterside. Plans now call for...

    • Indy Airport Scores Top Honor Again

      Indianapolis International Airport has again been named Best Airport in the United States by a global leisure publication. The Condé Nast Traveler recognition is the fifth straight for IND. The Best Airport designation is part of Traveler's annual Readers Choice Awards, which is built on feedback from more than 100,000 comments and millions of ratings. In addition to airports, favorites were tallied for hotels, resorts and destinations.

    • Daniels Envisions Purdue, Region as 'Cooler Place'

      Purdue University President Mitch Daniels says a more than $1 billion live, work, play development on the West Lafayette campus will be a magnet for attracting and keeping top talent in the region. The Discovery Park District is part of a 30-year vision to transform the west side of the Purdue campus and create a "preeminent environment" for educational, economic, cultural and community activities in the region.

    • NTN Driveshaft Proposing $90M Expansion

      NTN Driveshaft Inc. in Columbus is planning a $90 million expansion. In a tax abatement request with the Bartholomew County city, the automotive component supplier said the investment will lead to 74 new jobs and help retain a current full-time workforce of nearly 1,600. NTN Driveshaft is one of the largest employers in Columbus and last year, it opened a more than $140 million facility in Anderson. It launched operations in Bartholomew County in 1989 and says...