Christiana_Tawzerby Christiana Tawzer Brown
Volunteer Coordinator VISTA

The past several months I have had the opportunity of working with the Early Learning Network, helping to collect stories of families with preschool-aged children. Today, I will tell one of their stories.

Carrie Phillips is a South Salt Lake resident, works full-time, and has two children, ages four and eight. Like most parents, Carrie wants the best for her children. Growing up, Carrie did not have the necessary educational support to succeed, which she attributes to her current circumstances. This is why she wants her children to receive a good education – so they can have a better life than she has had. She makes sure to read to her children every night and does simple arithmetic and word play with them.

Carrie’s four-year old daughter is currently not enrolled in preschool, but Carrie has tried to search out options. She says that cost is a barrier to enrolling her child. She also needs a location close to their home. Unsure of the age requirements for preschool, Carrie generally lacks information about preschool services available to her family. When asked what she hopes her daughter would gain from preschool she stated she hopes she will learn how to play well with others, improve her communication skills, write her own name, learn the alphabet, and generally prepare for kindergarten.

With the recent financial investments in preschool we hope more families like Carrie’s will have affordable access to high-quality preschool. Building a strong economy depends on improving results in education and high-quality preschool is a key component to ensuring our children are succeeding every step of the way, from cradle to career. In many communities where United Way of Salt Lake works, as many as six out of 10 children are behind developmentally when they start kindergarten. Too many of these children are never able to catch up without interventions. We are excited that now many families like Carrie’s will have access to high-quality preschool!

Please take a moment to watch this great video about what makes high-quality preschool so important.