Every child deserves the same opportunities to excel and thrive in life. And those opportunities start from day one.

According to the National Research Council, brain development from birth to age five is more aggressive than at any point in a person’s life. Children who do not have access to quality child care and early learning experiences may be as much as 18 months behind their peers when they start kindergarten.

As a result, early childhood care and education is essential to the health, development and future success of San Diego children and the regional economy.

The San Diego Foundation and donor Guy Clum recently announced a transformational $13.8 million gift dedicated to strengthening early childhood education and development opportunities for San Diego children.

Early Childhood Development Smart Investment Graph

Source: James Heckman, Nobel Laureate in Economics.

The multi-year initiative will support both immediate impact initiatives and systems-level change in early education and development. Strategic grantmaking will support key areas, such as increased funding for early childhood care, tuition subsidies for economically disadvantaged households and other impactful programs that support children and families.

The first programs supported include:

  • SAY San Diego for the development of a workplace-based early childhood education center that will support more children and families annually, and will serve as a showcase site to advance a broader, regional program with San Diego employers;
  • South Bay Community Services’ Mi Escuelita Therapeutic Preschool for the expansion of classroom space which will help decrease the wait list and provide therapeutic quality education for more children who have experienced traumatic events;
  • Educational Enrichment Systems to fill a severe underfunding gap and provide more than 330 preschool students with high quality education; and,
  • San Diego Workforce Partnership to strengthen local data and research and identify challenges and opportunities of early childhood education in San Diego.

A Path to Prosperity

A child’s earliest experiences can play a significant role in shaping his or her future.

For example, children who have been exposed to domestic violence between the ages of 3 and 5 are at greater risk of substance abuse, failure in school and aggressive behavior later in life. All these factors affect the health and safety of our communities and our economy.

This is where Mi Escuelita Therapeutic Preschool, one of the programs supported by from the Guy C. Clum Fund at The San Diego Foundation, comes in.

The South Bay Community Services Mi Escuelita Therapeutic Preschool is the only one of its kind in Southern California designed specifically for children affected by domestic violence and abuse to help break the cycle of violence, help children heal and begin the right path for school. A study of the program’s impact revealed that children who participated in the Mi Escuelita program performed equal to, and often better, than their peers on several different academic outcomes.

Today the school already serves more than 70 children, but that is only a fraction of the number of San Diego children who could benefit from Mi Escuelita Therapeutic Preschool. The grant will help South Bay Community Services accept more children off the wait list and ultimately change the trajectory of their lives.

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The commitment to early childhood education and development is part of a larger strategy by Guy Clum, The San Diego Foundation and other partners who want to improve opportunities for children in San Diego.

Help create a better future for our children by donating to the Early Childhood Education & Development Fund today.

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