Groundwork is thrilled to have Alisha Mohsin join us for the summer through Columbus Academy's internship program. This week, Alisha visited a local resource and referral agency (Action for Children) and child care center (Heavenly Kids Center for Learning). The following are Alisha's observations and insights from her visits.
This week, had the opportunity to visit Action for Children and Heavenly Kids Center for Learning to learn more about early childhood education here in Central Ohio. I got to see the amazing work that Action for Children (AFC) is doing with the Step Up To Quality (SUTQ) system. I found out that AFC is currently providing help to different child care providers to register and get rated before the July 2020 quality deadline. As of now, just under 50% of providers have been registered. AFC’s work with SUTQ is vital for child care providers, as it can help them get additional funding if their star ratings are high enough. Additionally, I learned about the different types of assistance that AFC offers to parents, from helping them find a child care provider to offering free kindergarten readiness examinations. AFC is also a useful asset to teachers by providing different types of professional development. Overall, AFC is a wonderful resource for parents, caregivers, and teachers!
Next, I got to see Heavenly Kids, a child care provider with a 5-star SUTQ rating. I don’t think I can properly express how blown away I was. Heavenly Kids gives kids an excellent environment to learn and grow in. Everything I saw showed me how much thought has gone into every aspect from the teachers to the playgrounds. Furthermore, Heavenly Kids seems dynamic, constantly changing to fit the needs of the kids. Right now, around 80% of kids are receiving fully subsidized care through Ohio’s publicly funded child care program. Not having much experience in child care centers, it was really cool for me to see such high quality in a center that’s primarily meant for children from low-income families.
After touring Action for Children and Heavenly Kids, I understand why advocating for quality early childhood care is so important. Both of these organizations are doing important work for kids who might’ve fallen behind without them. A special thank you to Jessica Brown, Director of Organizational Advancement at AFC, and Misti Norman, Director of Heavenly Kids (and recipient of this year's Star Advocate Award from Groundwork), for showing me around your organizations!
Charting a Strong Course for Groundwork Ohio
This week, the Groundwork staff retreated from our usual workspace in Columbus to spend some time strategizing ways we can most effectively champion quality early learning and healthy development for Ohio's young children. We left our two-day retreat with a renewed passion for and excitement about the awesome work that lies ahead! We look forward to working with YOU to strengthen and expand our early childhood advocacy in the coming months and years and ensure the best outcomes for Ohio kids.
Encourage Congress to Increase Federal CCDBG Funding
Federal funds play a critical role in supporting early learning in Ohio--about 20% of Ohio's child care funding comes from the federal Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) and Congress is currently considering an increase to that fund, which could significantly benefit Ohio's littlest learners.
We encourage you to elevate the importance of federal investments in early learning with your US Representative (look up your representative here) and Senators Brown and Portman by sending a letter expressing your support for increased CCDBG funding. Simply download our letter template, fill in the highlighted fields, and drop it in the mail!