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Week of the Young Child - Reception and Press Conference

April 5th, 2005

You are invited to a special reception And PRESS CONFERENCE hosted by the Monterey County Child Care Planning Council And the Hartnell College Child Development Center On THURSDAY, APRIL 7, at 10 a.m.

Child Development Center
Hartnell College
411 Central Ave.
Salinas, CA 93901

The Week of the Young Child is a chance to celebrate the learning opportunities of young children and to recognize the responsibilities we share for children to make the most of those opportunities.

Welcome - Celia Barbarena, Vice President, Student Services, Hartnell College

Preparing Children for School - The Importance of Early Learning Opportunities - Anna Caballero, Mayor, City of Salinas

Child Care in Monterey County - Ron Graddy, Chair, Monterey County Child Care Planning Council

Community-Based School Readiness Activities in Monterey County -Elliott Robinson, Director, Department of Social and Employment Services

Mayor Caballero, in her remarks, will touch upon:
1. A child's brain develops most dramatically in the first three years of life. Since 80 percent of brain development occurs during this time, we must connect children with well-trained teachers and care providers as well as high-quality programs to stimulate their learning. The pathways and connections made in the brain during these early years affect the brain's capacity in the future.

2. Yet, in 2003, licensed child care slots were available to meet only 23 percent of the estimated need. Furthermore, for a single parent working full-time and earning the minimum wage, the average cost of child care for a preschooler was 42 per cent of the parent's annual income.

3. By investing in quality early childhood education, society benefits. The Perry Preschool Project proved that children in quality early childhood programs were still benefiting 40 years later-and so did society. The participants had higher earnings, more property ownership, and few criminal arrests. Overall, the study documented a return to society of more than a $17 for every tax dollar invested in the early care and education program.

4. Through partnerships and collaborations, quality early learning experiences can be created. The City of Salinas, with funding from First 5 Monterey County, renovated the closed State Employment Development Department offices on Front Street to create the Salinas Child Care Center.

5. An excellent child care program is provided through the Monterey County Office of Education's Head Start Program.

6. I would like to encourage cities, county government, police-makers and funding groups to keep child care at the forefront of their plans. Quality care and education supports our county's workforce and economy while investing in our youngest citizens to benefit all of society.

Click here for a list of activities planned throughout Monterey County to celebrate the Week of the Young Child. The programs are sponsored by the Monterey County Child Care Planning Council, an affiliate of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the largest organization of early childhood educators and others dedicated to improving the quality of early education programs for young children.

For more information, contact Linda Taylor, director, Child Development Center, Hartnell College, (831) 755-6946