thread has accomplished much over the past 30 years while remaining true to its mission of advancing the quality of early education and child development. Earlier this fall, two of the founding thread Board members, Mia Oxley and Kathe Boucha, brought together a group of leaders in early childhood to reflect on thread’s past, present, and future. While celebrating our accomplishments, this group recognized that more work still needs to be done to strengthen early care and learning in Alaska.
Engaging business leaders to invest in early care & learning is an essential component of strengthening not only early education, but Alaska’s economy. thread’s Boosting Alaska’s Economy Summit, held in 2015, was a step forward in engaging more businesses. thread has plans to hold another summit in 2017 where we will learn from local business leaders who have family-friendly policies like flexible work hours and paid parental leave or provide child care on-site for their employees. These champions for early childhood will share their successes and challenges. The summit will serve as a forum to engage more businesses in family-friendly practices.
Another critical need the group identified is for a shift in how society thinks about early care & learning. Research shows that high-quality early care & learning is a building block of strong economies and benefits society as a whole. Yet, society often treats early care & learning as a private issue and places the responsibility soley on families with young children.
These and other challenges still remain. But with support from parents, grandparents, community members, business leaders, legislators, and others like you who believe that every child deserves quality early care & learning, the future looks bright for Alaska’s children!