I was very happy to see that the Legislature’s Education Committee recently took an important step toward improving Pre-K access throughout Maine. It’s even more encouraging to see unanimous, bipartisan support.

I’ve long been a proponent of investments in early childhood programs. And I say that not only as a Mainer who cares about our children’s future, but also as a recently-retired CEO. This isn’t just an education issue—it’s a workforce issue.

Research has shown time and time again that investments in high-quality educational programs during the earliest years can have a profound and positive impact on children as they grow, particularly at-risk children. This impact includes better development of early math, verbal, and social-emotional skills. These skills, in turn, form the foundation of a child being “kindergarten-ready,” setting the stage for later educational—and career—success.

That’s why I hope the full House and Senate follow the Education Committee’s lead and show strong support for investing in high-quality early childhood education. Maine’s kids will have a better shot at success if they do, and our future workforce will be stronger and more competitive.

Chris Emmons

former CEO of Gorham Savings Bank

and co-chair of Maine Early Learning Investment Group

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