Educare DC representatives urge city council to continue to invest in early learning

Three representatives from Educare Washington, DC, urged city council members to continue to invest in early learning opportunities during a November 14 hearing.

Zunnobia Hakir, a parent and board member, Pyper Davis, executive director, and Jamal Berry, associate director, also spoke to the Committee on Education about Educare DC’s impact on children, families and the community.

Hakir described how her 2-year-old son’s experience at Educare DC has helped him learn new skills, including talking in full sentences and identifying shapes, letters and numbers. She also explained how Educare supports parents.

“I’ve seen mothers who have become so inspired by their children’s learning that they’ve made finishing their own high school diploma or equivalency and beyond a priority, because they see how important it is to set a positive example for their children,” Hakir said. “Educare is creating leaders amongst children and their parents, providing stability and uplifting families, which in turn helps lift communities.”

Davis spoke to the committee about the decades of research that show that early childhood education helps low-income children succeed in school and life. She also emphasized that programs must be high-quality to get results.

“The cost of quality is minimal compared to the cost of supporting older children and adults who have developed social, cognitive and health challenges,” Davis said. “Investing in children from their birth is smart policy, smart economics and the right thing to do.”

Berry described elements of Educare that make it a high-quality program, such as providing professional development for teachers and collecting and analyzing data to continuously improve the program.

“We are eager to find ways to share our learning with our local partners and the broader education community in DC,” Berry said.

The Educare DC representatives were among 28 people who testified at the hearing about the need for high-quality early childhood programs in Washington, DC.

Hakir urged the committee members to “continue to give families an opportunity to help themselves and their children; and watch lives and the quality of life in this city change—for generations to come.”