Quality early education can make a big difference in a child’s ability to do well in school, in life, and in the workplace. That is why area business leaders are very pleased that Sanford is expanding its pre-kindergarten program to include an additional 34 students, increasing the total number of spots available to 96.

Quality pre-K education gives kids a leg up in learning the skills they need to do well when they enter elementary school. The kinds of skills these programs help develop are not only the typical school skills that like early math and reading, but also the social and emotional skills that will benefit kids throughout their education and lives.

Quality early education programs help kids in myriad ways during what is a time of rapid, unique brain development. Unsurprisingly, these programs can put kids on a path to becoming better learners and, down the road, productive members of the workforce. This is especially true for at-risk kids.

From a business perspective, Maine needs more graduates who are ready to work and help fill the jobs of today and tomorrow. With projections indicating Maine increasingly will need a more educated and skilled workforce to compete and succeed economically, the more valuable early education programs like pre-K become.

I applaud Sanford for continuing to invest in our youngest learners with quality early learning programs. I am confident these investments will result in great outcomes for our schools, communities, employers, economy and people.

Rick Stanley

President Sanford Springvale Chamber of Commerce