A little over two years ago our family was blessed with a happy, healthy grandson. We were happy to learn a few months ago that we now have a granddaughter on the way. As any grandparent will tell you, there is no more important person in the world than a grandchild. We need to make sure this newest generation is well prepared for the challenges they will face in this ever changing world. High quality early education is vitally important to help these children thrive as students and later as adults. Research has shown that 90 percent of brain development occurs before age 5. Montana is one of only eight states that does not have universal pre-kindergarten for 4-year-olds. Gov. Steve Bullock’s Early Edge proposal would ensure that our children are better prepared to succeed in school. Under this proposal, school districts will have the option of receiving a block grant and establishing an early education program. Participation will be voluntary so parents can decide for themselves if this is the right choice for their child. Some of the high quality standards required include 1:10 teacher to student ratio, a lead teacher with an early grades endorsement and curriculum appropriate to what kids will learn in kindergarten. This curriculum will be language-rich structured play, not forcing 4-year-olds to sit at a desk and take tests, Early Edge will be funded through existing revenue so no new taxes will be needed. Please help every Montana grandchild get the opportunity to reach their full potential, tell your legislator that you support investing in our earliest learners.
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