Yesterday my community of Charlottesville officially launched its Smart Beginnings program to improve early child development and get every child ready for kindergarten. This is a multiple-pronged initiative in our community and others in the Commonwealth. Here are a few things we learned: for every $1.00 invested in early learning and school readiness there is a 7 to 10 percent return rate; programs that target children from disadvantaged families have the greatest return; and before the age of five children develop the foundation for such workforce skills as critical thinking, teamwork and communication. If we want to be "smart" in Charlottesville and every other community, we must insure a smart beginning for all children. For more information on the economic returns of early childhood programs see Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
What is your community doing?