It turns out that birth to five is more important than we ever knew, with 85 percent of brain development taking place within the first three years of life and 92 percent by the age of five. Kids gather the building blocks for school readiness and success long before they enter kindergarten, yet, in the Methow Valley many families struggle to provide their children with access to high quality, affordable early learning and childcare opportunities.
Knowing this, the Methow Valley School District, Room One, and Little Star Montessori initiated a comprehensive study last year, with the goal of ensuring all children in the Methow Valley receive high quality, affordable early childhood education and childcare.
What did we learn? A few of the highlights include:
- Parents and employers need preschool and childcare to align with work schedules.
- Affordability of childcare and preschool is an issue for many families.
- Providers and parents want quality for their children – safe, nurturing, and stimulating.
- Access to high quality professional development is needed for all early learning providers and caregivers serving.
- Parents need access to high quality parenting education at all levels.
Using what we learned from the Community Needs Assessment, the Methow Valley School District has taken the next step toward achieving this goal. We’ve hired Katharine Bill to serve as the district’s Early Childhood Education and Childcare Coordinator. Serving within this multi-year, grant-funded position, Katharine will be leading the collective efforts of our community to address the many needs described above.
Katharine’s background and experience leading large community-based initiatives, coupled with her passion for equity and ability to bring diverse groups of people together are strengths that will serve our children, families, and community well.
Please join us in welcoming Katharine Bill!