The full impact of COVID-19 on education, across all age levels, likely won’t be known for years, following extensive study after children start to work their way through the school systems. We all know the education students are receiving now — from pre-K through college — isn’t the same and possibly can’t be as effective for many students.
So it was great news last week when U.S. Rep. Fred Keller announced a $1.75 million Health and Human Services grant to the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit to help develop programs for early childhood education and development initiatives.
“Now more than ever, we must ensure our children are not left behind,” Keller said. “Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit plays a critical role in providing quality education to help our children thrive and I am confident that this grant will support its mission and expand its reach in our communities.”
This latest round of funding comes just a few months after state officials allocated $117 million to help daycare centers survive, another victim of the pandemic.
Industry experts often report that every dollar invested in early child care leads to a return of as much as $7.
CSIU and its available programs, and similar outreach across the area, play a critical role in the development of children across the Valley. Finding funding for Head Start and Pre-K programs is always the right move.
Hundreds of children are helped by CSIU’s early child care programs each year. According to its annual report:
n It’s Early Intervention Preschool program, which helps find services, offers assessments, speech and language, occupational and physical therapy for children 3 years old to school-age children helped 970 students at home or in centers in 2017-18.
n It’s Northumberland Early Head Start program offered health and education screenings, nutrition services and even transportation to appointments for 105 mothers and children.
n The Northumberland Area Head Start Program has 272 children enrolled. CSUI’s Pre-K Counts outreach has 108 children.
Those federal and state dollars will help fill the cracks. They are critical to long-term success, both individually and collectively as a region.
NOTE: Opinions expressed in The Daily Item’s editorials are the consensus of the publisher, top newsroom executives and community members of the editorial board. Today’s was written by Managing Editor Bill Bowman.