ECEAP Book Drop a great success!

On April 6, parents and kids from around Washington came to Olympia for a Mini-Advocacy Event. Thanks to Half Price Books in Bellevue, we were able to deliver a children’s book to each Senator, Representative, and the Governor, reminding how important ECEAP and Head Start are in promoting literacy and inviting them to come to our programs to read to the children.

Here’s the letter delivered to each legislator.

April 6, 2011

Dear Legislator,

The Washington State Association of Head Start & ECEAP would like to thank Washington State Legislature for your longstanding support of the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program, Washington’s proven pre-kindergarten program.

ECEAP families are delivering books today, donated by Half Price Books, to underscore the critical importance of literacy for our youngest learners and the key role ECEAP plays in helping at-risk children get ready for kindergarten.  The recent WaKIDS study indicated that more than half the children in the pilot areas are entering kindergarten with skills below their expected developmental level in literacy and language.  For low-income children the numbers were even more stark – 74% of children were below expectations.  The implications of this are sobering – it is estimated that only one in eight children responds to reading intervention after first grade, and a majority of these kids are starting way behind their peers.

ECEAP is a lifeline for many of these families, and can bridge the academic gap that many at-risk children face when they reach kindergarten.  The 2009-10 ECEAP Outcomes Report highlighted the great gains that children can make in literacy skills.  In the fall of 2009, for example, only 20% of ECEAP children were at or above their developmental level in phonological awareness, a key element in emerging literacy.  By spring, 71% were at or above their developmental level.  In the category of early writing, the percentage prepared went from 36% to 81%.  These ECEAP children were ready, both academically and socially, to thrive in school and life, not starting school at a disadvantage that might never be made up in the K-12 system.

We would like to invite you to read a book to children at your local ECEAP program!  It is a great way to become more engaged with children, parents, teachers and the community, as well as experience a day in a preschool classroom.  Please contact us if you would like us to connect you to one of your local classrooms.

Pictures from the event:

Becky Gallegos, Snohomish County ECEAP, and her son Diego.

Sam Gallegos & Diego meet with a lawmaker.