The Maine State Chamber of Commerce agrees wholeheartedly with Tara Williams, executive director of the Maine Association for the Education of Young Children, whose recent op-ed (May 30) highlighted the value of early childhood education in Maine and urged support for early learning akin to that of K-12: consistent, multifaceted funding streams.

From a business and economic standpoint, early care and education programs are essential.

High-quality early programs are an investment in Maine’s future workforce. They teach kids the cognitive, social and emotional skills they need to succeed when they start kindergarten. This helps put many kids, especially at-risk kids, on a trajectory to succeed throughout school, graduate from high school, achieve a postsecondary degree or credential and enjoy a rewarding career.

More immediately, early education programs and their workforce make it possible for many Maine people to work. In some cases, whether a parent can go to work depends on their ability to access early learning programs. That access is especially significant today for essential workers and those returning to work as Maine’s economy reopens.

These programs also provide a safe and nurturing place for kids when parents are at work. When parents are secure in the knowledge that their kids are well-cared for, they are better able to focus on their jobs and perform well.

Child care and early learning are key to Maine’s economic strength for many reasons. It’s time these programs are supported similarly to K-12 education. Mainers, our communities and our economy depend on it.

Megan Diver

senior government affairs specialist, Maine State Chamber of Commerce


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