The Craig Fahle Show

State Support Crucial To Early Childhood Education

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Craig speaks with Ali Webb, the State Director of Michigan Programming for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, about the role of state funding and philanthropic support in Michigan's early childhood education.

"Children have been in early childhood care since World War Two, so we have data going back for decades," Webb tells Craig during their conversation at the Mackinac Policy Conference last week. She explains that if we get our children in early education, we don’t have to do a variety of things to give them extra support when they begin school.

Even at a young age, structured playtime is critical to the development of children in Michigan. "It allows them to be safe and challenged and encouraged, and frankly the payoff is so clear for society and Michigan I don’t know why we don’t have the will to do this," says Webb.

Bolstering early childhood efforts are extremely important at The Mackinac Policy Conference, where Webb and other philanthropic representatives can explain their mission to the lawmakers and business leaders capable of making it a reality. "This is our third early childhood conversation, and last year at the conference was really important," Webb says of the support she received last summer on Mackinac.

While Webb recognizes support for early childhood education can be led by the philanthropic sphere, "we couldn't run early childhood in Michigan for more than two weeks," she says of the steep financial demands of implementing a program. She also tells Craig that parents need to stand up for early childhood care and recognize the K-12 mentality doesn't reflect the fact that many parents are providing care, safety and resources for education from birth to 24 years of age.

--Annamarie Sysling