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Minnesota Celebrates Week of the Young Child

PHOTO: As lawmakers debate various proposals for improving the access to and quality of early childhood education in Minnesota, advocates this week are celebrating the Week of the Young Child. Photo credit: davitydave/Flickr.
PHOTO: As lawmakers debate various proposals for improving the access to and quality of early childhood education in Minnesota, advocates this week are celebrating the Week of the Young Child. Photo credit: davitydave/Flickr.
April 13, 2015

ST. PAUL, Minn. - This is the Week of the Young Child in Minnesota, set aside to recognize the importance of quality early life experiences for all kids, which has has been a focus this year at the State Capitol.

Karen Fogolin, associate director with Child Care Aware of Minnesota, says making sure children are starting off with the best educational opportunities is critical for them and the state's future vitality.

"This is just a really great time to let people know that these early life experiences are super great window of opportunity for life-long learning and healthy well-being for children," says Fogolin.

Governor Mark Dayton has proposed a major expansion of the child-care tax credit, along with a plan to offer free all-day preschool for every four-year-old child in Minnesota.

The Governor's budget also includes funding to sustain Minnesota's Parent Aware program, which Fogolin explains is a voluntary rating system for child-care providers in the state.

"So we rate programs on a one-to-four star basis," she says. "Looking at physical health and well-being, teacher training and education, the assessment of child progress and teaching, and relationships."

Fogolin notes the impact of providers improving quality early childhood is widespread. This, as about 65 percent of Minnesota kids ages 12 and younger are in some type of care arrangement regularly, spending on average of about 22 hours a week in child care.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - MN