Passed in 2021, the Fair Start for Kids Act invested $1.1 billion to enhance the child care system in Washington state by making care more affordable, expanding access, and increasing resources to support providers. To support providers and improve quality, the Act established the Dual Language Designation as a funding award for licensed or certified providers that accept state subsidies or offer Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) or Early ECEAP services. Programs must serve multilingual families and have at least one bilingual staff member providing instruction in English and a partner language, or be a tribal language revitalization program. Awards are given per classroom or per learning environment (about $2,700 each), and facilities can be awarded for up to 10 classrooms per year. The funding can go toward enhancing environments for multilingual children, such as wages for staff providing bilingual instruction, professional development and staff training, culturally appropriate curricula, and other instructional materials. A total of $2.8 million is dedicated to the Dual Language Designation programs through June 30, 2023.
Washington State Department of Children, Youth & Families. (n.d.). What is the Fair Start for Kids Act?.
Washington State Legislature. (n.d.). SB 5237 – 2021-22.
Connections to Key Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H) Findings:
Learn More about ELS@H Findings
The early education workforce is the foundation upon which all daily work and any expansion and quality improvement efforts rest. Research suggests that states and cities should invest in the workforce across all early education setting types, focusing on enhancing educators’ professional learning,Professional learning: Learning and support activities (e.g., coaching) that help develop educators’ competencies and skills. compensation, and workplace conditions.
Findings from the Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H) show:
- Early educators play a critical role in supporting the well-being of young children and families across setting types.
- Yet their pay, benefits, and other professional supports are often inadequate in light of the job demands and their cost of living.