Letters to the Editor

Preschool progams pay off down the road

I was very pleased to read Kitsap County Sheriff Steve Boyer and Port Orchard Police Chief Al Townsend’s Guest Opinion regarding the positive and long-range effects of quality early learning experiences for children (“Early childhood programs reduce drop-out rate, crime,” July 3).

This is something that advocates for early learning have known for years and finally in Washington state we are starting to have conversations about the differences high quality early learning settings with highly capable professional providers can make in a child’s life.

I am fortunate that in my career I am able to work alongside so many quality early learning programs in Kitsap and Mason counties.

Students studying early childhood education at Olympic College have the opportunity to work in some excellent programs scattered around our county.

Some of the best programs also include a strong parent education component. Classrooms can be packed full of high quality providers, but parents are the child’s first teacher.

Olympic College’s early childhood program is fortunate to work collaboratively with six exceptional preschools in Hansville, Poulsbo, Bainbridge Island, South Colby, Belfair and Kingston, as well as a new preschool in Shelton.

Just as I encourage my pre-service teachers, I would like to encourage my community to fully support the governor’s and Department of Early Learning’s task to make early learning a priority throughout Washington state.

I would also encourage you to advocate for children at your local level. Please support programs and leaders that recognize the tremendous long-range benefits of quality early education.

GAYLE DILLING

Olympic College

Early Childhood

program coordinator

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