WESA: Life of Learning Forum: Investment in Pre-K Critical to Future Educational Success

“Last week, a panel of experts gathered at the Community Broadcast Center to discuss what the future of the learning/education system should look like to be as effective as possible for the region’s children. The public forum tackled a range of questions from the audience, including the state of early childhood education.

Panelist Patrick Dowd, executive director of Allies for Children, said in recent years more attention has been paid to the importance of early childhood education, but added there are still too many children who don’t have access to pre-K programs. In addition to lack of access, another panelist said there is an opportunity gap among very young children.

“We have children who come to school who have no food,” said Olga Welch, dean of the School of Education at Duquesne University. “We have children who come out of homes where parents are struggling to make a living and to provide a roof, we have children who are homeless.”

Because so many children come from so many difference backgrounds, Welch said an effort must be made to ensure safe learning environments for children. She said access to quality pre-K must be thought of as a community-wide issue.”

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