SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Early childhood education is getting renewed focus and investment in Northwest Louisiana, not just from community and education leaders, but from local businesses.
The mayors of Shreveport and Bossier, along with the superintendents from Caddo and Bossier, signed a resolution Wednesday committing to improving access to affordable childcare and kindergarten readiness in the community. Leaders also committed to spreading the word on the importance of early brain development and its importance for society at large.
“The real work begins, raising funds, helping early childhood centers. Helping the existing early childhood centers by increasing their quality as well as quantity, and getting all the families in Northwest Louisiana to understand how important early brain development is,” says Kristi Gustavson, CEO of Community Foundation of North Louisiana.
The resolution was the result of a three-day NWLA: Early Childhood Policy Summit involving local civic, business, and education leaders focused on solutions based off of analyzed research.
That research has shown that 90% of a child’s brain develops by age 5. It also shows that high-quality early education improves a child’s health, future income, IQ and reduces the likelihood of committing crimes.
Summit leaders also announced that Shreveport and Bossier businesses have committed more than $100,000 to the NSU Child & Family Network.
For every dollar up to $5,000 contributed to the network, businesses will receive dollar-for-dollar refundable credit on Louisiana State taxes.
“And that partnership includes all of you, and really the entire community,” says Laura Alderman, Executive Director of Step Forward NLA.