Over the past few weeks, APC had the fortune to partner with the business community to share an important message with community-development stakeholders; investments in early child care benefit the current workforce and help develop an even stronger workforce for the future. Moreover, we have the data to prove it.
Investing in high-quality ('quality' is key), affordable and accessible child care is the best investment you can make as an industry, business and state. And consequently, it also helps more Alabama children get the very best start in life. The rich and loving interactions that well-trained child care professionals have with young children has already proven to support their future success in school and in life. As that positive cycle continues, more successful children mean more successful adults contributing to the prosperity of our state, our nation and the world.
Yes, investing heavily in high-quality child care is that important.
The roundtable discussions were made possible by the Committee for Economic Development (The Conference Board), and in collaboration with local chambers of commerce, AlabamaWorks and local workforce development committees, Mazda-Toyota Manufacturing USA, and other state partners. We are incredibly grateful for this opportunity to provide a platform for 'real talk' on employees' child care challenges, to gather productive feedback from the local perspectives, and to solicit creative ideas for solutions. I'm so encouraged by the high-level of interest and engagement that was apparent, and we plan to continue these discussions until every Alabama employer finds solutions to meet the unique and diverse child care needs of their employees.
I can't remember a time when the focus on high-quality child care and early childhood development had such widespread vitality in our state. Knowing that there's a growing movement toward what's best for all Alabama children is a remarkable gift of hope for families and for all of us dedicated to the work.
Many blessings to you and your families in the New Year!
l-r: Dean Mitchell, executive director-Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce; Jeff Coleman, Alabama School Readiness Alliance board member; Gail Piggott, executive director-Alabama Partnership for Children; Marian Loftin, founding board member, Alabama Partnership for Children; Stephen Woerner, executive director, VOICES for Alabama's Children and Ryan Richards, executive director-Southeast AlabamaWorks.
Browse some of the media coverage from our events in Birmingham, Dothan, Gadsden, Huntsville, Opelika, and Tuscaloosa:
The Alabama Partnership for Children is partnering with the Georgia Department of Public Health to bring the expertise and resources of the Talk With Me BabyTM initiative to the state of Alabama, and the Feed Me Words campaign will spread public awareness of these resources, as well as the importance of intentional early language and literacy activities for all children.
“Language nutrition” refers to rich language interactions between caregivers and infants and is critical for a child’s socio-emotional and vocabulary development. Talk With Me Baby resources provide both visual and written cues, and bright, positive, baby-friendly designs to help bring the message of language nutrition to all families.
The Dept. of Early Childhood Education is overseeing the implementation of Born Ready, a movement that includes a website and a full plate of social media offerings. Born Ready is the result of collaborative efforts across multiple state agencies.
The BornReady.org website houses information and easy-to-follow, science-based tips designed to show parents how they can prepare their children from the moment they are born for a future in which they reach their full potential. The site also informs parents on what to look for in a quality early childhood education, sparking inquiry and demand for quality in their community. APC Programs are prominently listed under "Parent Resources," and soon the Talk With Me Baby program will be included.
Anyone with a smartphone can now quickly and efficiently access helpful information and available services for families, especially for new parents and those caring for very young children. The new mobile app - AL Parent Manual - is available for download in Google Play and the Apple Store, and is completely free and provides helpful information with active links to websites and phone numbers. Because it is digital, it can be updated in real-time when any changes need to be made so that users have minimal delays when reaching out for help.
Click on the icon below for your mobile device's operating system to download the app now.