The Alaska Governor’s Summit on Early Learning brought together over 150 Alaskans from a wide variety of sectors across the state to develop recommendations for Governor Sarah Palin’s early learning policy agenda.
Participants were asked to address these goals:
- All children, especially those most in need, have access to early literacy and learning opportunities in their home or in out-of-home settings;
- These services are coordinated; and
- Parents, grandparents, and extended family are engaged in young children’s learning with needed support, resources, and incentives.
After hearing from national speakers on early learning and economic development, brain research and early learning, and early learning public policy, and from Alaska leaders, participants broke into small groups and discussed how to create a System Infrastructure for early learning in Alaska, as well as how to provide early learning opportunities to children In the Home and in Programs Outside the Home. View Summit materials.
Their top recommendations include the following:
- Implement a voluntary Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) which is a method to assess, improve, and communicate the level of quality in early care and education settings.
- Conduct a comprehensive public engagement campaign to inform parents, extended families, community members, and business about the economic and social “return on investment” in the early years and what they can do to support early learning
- Increase funding for Head Start to enable more low-income children to participate
- Increase the child care assistance reimbursement rates to help offset costs for eligible families and keep them in the work force.
- Increase the eligibility guidelines for child care assistance so more families can participate in the work force (addresses Goal A, and is a priority in the area of “Programs Outside the Home”)