Letter: The expansion of Pre-K is good for Rhode Island’s kids

Posted 11/21/19

I’m a former educator who is now in sales. I’m a big believer in the importance of great education early on. But, before anything else, I’m a Dad.

Being a parent is arguably the …

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Letter: The expansion of Pre-K is good for Rhode Island’s kids

Posted

I’m a former educator who is now in sales. I’m a big believer in the importance of great education early on. But, before anything else, I’m a Dad.

Being a parent is arguably the most important job there is. That’s why when my wife and I learned about an opportunity for our daughter Elyse to take part in high-quality pre-K in Warren/Bristol as part of an additional expansion of Rhode Island Pre-K seats, we were thrilled. Giving our daughter a strong early foundation for school and life means so much to us as parents.

On Oct. 28., Gov. Gina Raimondo visited my daughter’s R.I. Pre-K classroom at The Children’s Workshop (TCW) in Warren. A year ago, this wouldn’t have been possible because it didn’t exist. Because of the governor’s push for universal, publicly funded pre-kindergarten, my daughter Elyse is thriving. That’s why I thanked her in person.

I can’t say enough about how wonderful R.I. Pre-K has been for Elyse. Prior to R.I. Pre-K, she stayed home with my wife, which was great, but she missed out on the social aspect of learning how to interact with other children in an educational/classroom setting. Now, she comes home excited to tell us about her friends and equally excited to tell Mommy and Daddy what she has learned. Because of this, we know that our daughter is being set up with the academic foundation for success in kindergarten and beyond.

I have my master’s in early education. I know that the research is clear. The benefits of quality early education are many and long-lasting. It pleases me to tell you that R.I. Pre-K provides our daughter with a safe and welcoming learning environment that is helping her and many other children thrive. I have no doubt the same is happening for the other Rhode Island 4-year-olds who have received an excellent Pre-K experience because of Gov. Raimondo’s push.

Most of us know that raising a child is expensive. The cost of high-quality early childcare and education can be a small fortune. We can’t believe we get so much. My wife and I lock eyes at the end of the day, breathe a sigh of relief, and smile because we know what a great opportunity expanded pre-K has been for Elyse and for that, we are so grateful.

My sincere hope is that every family in Rhode Island, across every city and town, will have access to the same opportunity for the free high-quality Pre-K that my family has enjoyed. At the TCW event, a new website was unveiled that makes finding services like Pre-K easier: Kids.RI.gov. I am grateful to our Governor and the State General Assembly for prioritizing early learning and know they will continue to do so.

Jon Tyler
Bristol

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.