Early Childhood Education
Why is Early Childhood Education important to CFNLA?
Community Counts data from 2012 to the present reveals an alarming decrease in Kindergarten Readiness scores for Shreveport-Bossier. Currently, 60% of students who enter Caddo Schools score below the benchmark for K Readiness. Numerous studies indicate a lack of K Readiness correlates strongly with academic and behavioral challenges and involvement with juvenile and adult criminal justice systems. Click here, here, and here to learn more!
What have we done to respond to low K Readiness scores?
In 2020, CFNLA launched the ECE Fund to expand access and enrollment in quality early childhood education for Caddo Parish children, ages 0-3. In 2021, CFNLA raised $1 million and secured a $1 million match from Louisiana. A total of $2 million resulted in 209 scholarships to Type III ECE centers for low-income children ages 0 to 3 in 2022.
In the fall of 2022, the City of Shreveport approved one-time funding of $2.8 million for ECE Scholarships which leveraged $2.8 million in matching state dollars for a total of $5.6 million. This will result in approximately 500 children receiving 2023-24 scholarships.
In 2024, CFNLA raised $1.34 million which, when combined with $660,000 from the City, will result in a $2 million state match, or a total of $4 million.
We are grateful for the many generous donors who made this possible!
Early Childhood Education Fund Outcomes
The ECE initiative has provided 647 children with scholarships.
From 2021 to 2022, ECE scholarships increased enrollment of children ages 0 to 3 by 65%. Specifically, enrollment of ages 0 to 2 increased by 92%.
Among the 18 participating centers, 10 new classrooms have opened resulting in increased revenue for these private businesses.
Two years of data have shown children attending childcare centers are far more kindergarten-ready than peers who do not attend preschool. Below is the new 2023 data. Click here for 2022 data.
Why is it so important our community continue to support the ECE Initiative?
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. Click here, here, and here to learn more!
Access to high-quality ECE (average: $8,600/year) is unaffordable for many families. More than 30% of families with children under the age of 5 in the Shreveport-Bossier MSA are living in poverty, and the median income for all families is approximately $48,000. In 2021 in Caddo, only 37% of low-income three-year-olds have access to publicly funded early learning. There is less access for children 0-2. See Parish Fact Sheet for Caddo.
Major brain development occurs in the first few years of life. 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.
Working parents need childcare. Moreover, lack of reliable childcare costs employers billions in Louisiana.
Investing in ECE 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.