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

    • Making Indiana One of The Healthiest States in America

      When it comes to health rankings, Indiana has some work to do. We currently stand as the 39th healthiest state in the U.S. and several big challenges confront us. From tobacco and opioid addiction to infant mortality, obesity, behavioral health and more, the need to get healthier is urgent and incremental improvement is not the answer. As the state’s largest nonprofit health system, our goal is to make Indiana one of the healthiest states in America.

    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

    • F&W Moving Engine Line From Mexico to Noble County

      Kendallville-based Flint & Walling Inc. is planning to on-shore some operations to Indiana. The Journal Gazette in Fort Wayne reports the manufacturer is shifting an engine production line from Mexico to Kendallville's former Superior Essex facility that it acquired a year ago. The publication says F&W is investing more than $5 million into renovations and equipment for small sump pump engines that will be used by its parent company, Louisville-based Zoeller Co.

    • Knowledge Services Moves Ahead with Fishers HQ

      Knowledge Services has selected CitiMark Management Company, and American Structurepoint, to develop and build it's new headquarters in the Green Acres Technology Park in Fishers. Construction on the 80,000 square foot building, adjacent to Navient's headquarters, is set to be complete by the end of 2019, and will provide nearly 400 jobs by 2021.  

    • 'Best Places' in Indiana Reaches Record

      The Indiana Chamber of Commerce has released the 2018 list of Best Places to Work in Indiana. A record 125 companies are being honored this year and more than 50 are first-timers or returning after a year or more off the list. Employers in over two dozen communities are represented and the chamber will unveil the rankings of the Best Places honorees during a May 3 awards dinner at the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis.

    • Governor Eric Holcomb Makes Appointments to State Boards, Commissions

      Governor Holcomb Makes Commission Appointments

      Governor Holcomb has announced several appointments and reappointments to various state commissions and boards. They include the Commission for Higher Education, Graduate Medical Education Board and State Board of Accountancy. 

    • Children's Museum to Buy Salvation Army Divisional HQ

      The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis says it has reached an agreement to acquire the Salvation Army Indiana Divisional Headquarters. The two sides have been in a dispute stemming from construction of the museum's $35 million Riley Children's Health Sports Legends Experience. The soon-to-open experience is located just behind the Salvation Army property. Neither the museum or Salvation Army are sharing details of the deal. Museum Chief Executive Officer Jeff Patchen says...