Early Childhood Education

Since 2012, Community Counts data has shown an alarming decrease in kindergarten readiness scores for the Shreveport-Bossier MSA. Specifically, an average of 60% of students who enter Caddo Parish Schools score below the benchmark for kindergarten readiness. Numerous studies indicate that a lack of kindergarten readiness correlates strongly with academic and behavioral challenges and involvement with juvenile and adult criminal justice systems.

2020: CFNLA established the Early Childhood Education (ECE) Fund to expand access and enrollment in quality early childhood education for Caddo Parish children, ages 0-3.

2021: Through generous donor support and a dollar-for-dollar match from the state, $2 Million was secured for the initiative.

2022: 209 Caddo Parish children from low-income households received a full scholarship to attend a Type III childcare center.

Fall 2022: The kindergarten readiness test (iSteep) administered for Caddo Parish students revealed that children attending Type III childcare centers averaged in the 61st percentile compared to the 28th percentile of those children who stayed home.

Fall 2022: The City of Shreveport approved one-time funding of $2.8 million for ECE Scholarships and received $2.8 million in matching state dollars.

To address the current childcare needs in Caddo Parish, CFNLA has set a goal to raise $3 million by 2024. This can produce a dollar-for-dollar match from the state of Louisiana. By equipping children for educational success, we increase reading scores, increase graduation rates, decrease idleness, and decrease crime.

To contribute to the Caddo ECE Fund, please click the button below. 

Amount Raised for 202422%

Why is Early Childhood Education important to CFNLA?

  1. All children, regardless of income level, deserve equal access to quality childcare and early education. Studies show access to quality early education not only helps prepare young children for kindergarten but also ensures they have a better chance of graduating from high school and not repeating grades. However, for many families, access to high-quality early learning (on average $8,500/year) is simply unaffordable.
  2. 90% of brain development occurs before children reach the age of 5. According to the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, a child’s experiences during the earliest years of life have a lasting impact on the architecture of the developing brain.
  3. 60% of children in Caddo Parish are not kindergarten ready when they start kindergarten. Research has shown kindergarten readiness is an indicator of long-term educational success. Children who enter kindergarten academically behind are more likely to stay behind for the rest of their education.
  4. Working parents need childcare. A recent study found there to be an annual economic cost of $57 billion in lost earnings and productivity due to low-quality or nonexistent childcare. In Caddo, only 48% of low-income three-year-olds have access to publicly funded early learning and only 28% have access in Bossier Parish. There is less access for children ages 0 to 2.
  5. Investing in early childhood education is an investment in our entire community. Research shows high-quality, birth-to-five early childhood education provides a return on investment (ROI) of 13%! An investment in early education improves not only cognitive abilities, but also critical behavioral traits like sociability, motivation, and self-esteem.