By Gabby Christensen
Early childhood education is a largely overlooked issue in the United States, according to “No Small Matter,” a feature-length documentary film and national engagement campaign that explores how kids work, and how quality early care and education could ultimately make or break America’s future.
Two showings of the documentary were presented last Wednesday night at the Gateway Theatre, hosted by community partners who are working to establish Boone Beginnings Early Childhood and Family Development Center.
Lindsey Jarecki, an advocate for the new center, said she hopes the movie helps to further educate the community on this project.
The movie offered perspectives from parents and early childhood education providers and teachers while also featuring interviews from education, financial and psychology experts who outlined the benefits of early childhood education.
Overall, the film works to bring attention to and educate on the potential for quality early care and education to benefit America’s social and economic future.
The project also aims to change the perception of when learning begins.
The movie explained that children start learning the day they are born, which is why it’s so important to provide them with adequate resources so they can start out on the right foot.
According to the film, stress occurs in children when there’s a lack of interaction and dependability.
Furthermore, when a child experiences stress, it can harm their brain development and lead to issues down the road.
The feature stressed that social interaction is like “brain food” for young children, and it helps them to develop their skills and behaviors.
The film ended with a black screen and a one sentence attention grabber: “High quality early education isn’t just powerful—it’s possible.”
Jarecki said the lack of early childhood education and care affects an entire community.
“We need to be able to recruit families to the area, and without enough child care options, that can be difficult to do,” Jarecki said. “We want to make this an affordable option for parents while helping to meet a growing need in our community.”
According to statistics presented during the event, over 90 percent of children in Boone County have all available parents working, and 100 percent of Boone County providers have a waiting list.
In Boone County, there are 168 licensed childcare spots and 62 pre-school spots available.
The total number of children under the age of five with available parents working is 310, leaving a gap of 80 children who are under the age of five are not enrolled in a private licensed or public preschool.
Supporters of the center in Albion said it would offer childcare, parent education and a support network for all licensed childcare providers in Boone County without competing with current providers or preschool programs.
The next scheduled showing of the documentary will be Sunday, March 10 at 2 p.m. at the Gateway Theatre.
The public is invited to attend the free documentary and presentation.
By Gabby Christensen