This post is brought to you by Save the Children. All opinions are our own.
Early childhood education is so incredibly important to the future development of our kids, yet so many children don’t have access to it. I remember when Jacob was little, I struggled to keep him in preschool. He started when my finances were better and I was still with his dad. When we separated and money got tight, I wanted to keep Jake in preschool because he really loved it, learned so much and it was one thing that hadn’t changed when everything else was changing.
I wiped out every dime we’d put away over the first few years for Jake’s college education to pay for his preschool. I don’t regret it because the foundation I gave him in those early years set the groundwork for success throughout his entire life. Did you know that kids who receive good math and reading support in their early years are three times more prepared for school than kids who don’t?
Unfortunately, according to Save the Children, 30% of the world’s children never get to reach their developmental potential. In low-income countries, fewer than 1 in 5 kids have access to early childhood education. Those children are more likely to grow up to be arrested for violent crimes, become teen parents, drop out of school and never attend college.
How to Support Early Childhood Education in Your Community
Even if you’re struggling, like I was, to put your own child through preschool, there are ways you can help support early childhood education in your community. A few things you can do that don’t cost you any money include:
- Donating books to your local preschools: Jacob had (still has) a massive library of children’s books. When he outgrew them, I’d take them down to his preschool so his teachers could share them with other parents. Since his preschool doubled as a daycare center, there were kids younger than him that could use them.
- Donating board games, puzzles and other gently used educational toys: My friend works for a local low-income early education center, where many of the children don’t have access to educational toys once they leave the center. Jacob has board games and puzzles that he’s played once or twice and are still in great shape. I asked if she can use them, and she said she likes to send things like that home with kids, especially around the holidays.
- Have a yard sale: For all those items that aren’t really appropriate to give to a preschool, have a yard sale and donate the funds to your favorite early education center for low-income families. You can also get your community together and host a big yard sale, then pool your money to buy new educational equipment.
- Give your time: If you have a skill, talk to your local preschool and see how you can share it with the kids. Are you a master at soccer? See if you can come in for a day and teach the kids the basics! You may need to submit background checks, but once you do that, it’s usually good for a year. Having a current background check on file comes in handy if you want to volunteer anywhere with children.
Invest in Childhood with Save the Children
If you do have a little extra money to spare, Save the Children is an amazing way to give back to kids in need. Save the Children understands the importance of a strong early childhood education foundation. Their back-to-school campaign, Invest in Childhood, focuses on the importance of early learning and the deficit faced by kids in need. You can help them help those kids through Child Sponsorship.
For just about $1 a day, sponsor a child in need right here in the United States. By helping the Invest in Childhood campaign, you’ll be investing in all of our futures. Think about it: our children will grow up to become the next caretakers of the world.
They are the future inventors and scientists, doctors and nurses. They’ll be our leaders and make our laws. With the right tools, they could finally find the cure for cancer or end world hunger. They’re certainly tenacious enough! If anyone can do it, it’s our kids. But they need our help and guidance.
Child Sponsorship is also a phenomenal way to teach your own children about the value of giving back in a way that is more meaningful to them. Helping a child around their own age really lets them connect with the impact they’re making. As a Sponsor, you actually get to send messages, birthday cards and more to your sponsored child. Let your kids help write these messages and you can even create new friendships.
Every child is born with a blank slate and the potential to do great things. Together with Save the Children, we can chip away at that staggering 30% of children who aren’t able to reach their potential simply because they don’t have access to the right tools.
How do you help foster a strong foundation in early childhood education? Tell us in the comments!