Ready to Learn

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Ready to Learn

Contributor: Nanci Micke, Vice President of Marketing and Communications at United Way Fox Cities, Research information provided by Jon Stellmacher

Scholars around the nation have affirmed that a child's earliest years are a time when the window of opportunity to affect their future is open the widest. The quality of a child's early life experiences have a profound impact on his or her ability to learn and long-term implications for the community and the economy. In fact, "By (age) 5, it is possible to predict, with depressing accuracy, who will complete high school and college and who won't," says New York Times columnist and PBS NewsHour commentator David Brooks.

Because of the importance of getting our children off to a good start in life, making sure that children enter Kindergarten developmentally on-track is a priority for United Way. One of the ways we addressed this priority in 2014 was by granting $150,000 for the creation of the Community Early Learning Center (CELC) located in Catholic Central Elementary School at St. Mary's Parish in Appleton.

The CELC celebrated its grand opening in October 2014, with the mission of ensuring that by age five, all children in the Fox Cities - especially those who are at-risk due to poverty or other unhealthy stresses - have the foundation to achieve their full potential. The newly renovated Center houses numerous service providers including, Appleton Area School District Birth-to-5 Programs, Even Start Family Literacy, Head Start, Outagamie County Birth-to-3 Early Intervention, and Project Bridges Day Care Center and Preschool, and serves more than 300 children daily.

Because of your investment in United Way Fox Cities, families with young children have easier access to resources and children are entering school ready to learn.