I am pleased to see research and media attention on the issue of comprehensive, high-quality early child care and education, as it has immeasurable impact on the health outcomes and economic future of Maine. Research demonstrates that the foundation for lifelong health is built in early childhood. Meeting the developmental needs of very young children is about building a strong foundation for their physical and mental health.
Health is not just the absence of disease; it helps children adapt to the challenges of everyday life, resist infections, cope with adversity and interact with their surroundings in ways that promote development. The health of Maine’s children is a state’s wealth, as a healthy body and mind enhance the capacity of children to develop a wide range of competencies that are necessary to become contributing members of a successful society.
These facts, coupled with the reality that 73% of parents are in the workforce and their children are in day care, requires that we pay attention to the quality of early learning environments for infants, toddlers and preschool-aged children.
At MaineGeneral, we recognize the need for high-quality child care. That’s why in 1990 we began the Early Learning Center, a daycare center for the children of our employees. The center is full and has been for quite some time. When we ask our staff to care for patients in our community, we know they need and want the security of having their children in a safe, happy learning environment. It makes a big difference to our staff, and helps their little ones get off to a great start.
A productive society is built on the foundation of healthy child development. It is time to expand access to high-quality early care and education for young children. Our future is literally in their hands.
president and CEO