United Way Bright Beginnings Shines
It’s a fact: every dollar invested in high-quality early childhood education in Texas returns $3.50 to our communities (The Bush School of Government & Public Service).
Recognizing the public and private benefits of early childhood education, United Way of Greater Houston and ExxonMobil founded United Way Bright Beginnings in 2002.
United Way Bright Beginnings is an innovative child care quality-improvement program designed so that children in need achieve social, emotional, physical and cognitive developmental milestones. The program focuses on the training, education and leadership development of child care staff. United Way Bright Beginnings also aims to improve child care quality through comprehensive curriculums, appropriate indoor and outdoor equipment and parental involvement.
Children with quality early care experience can expect higher math and reading achievement scores, greater language abilities, lower dropout rates, and higher employment and earning rates. United Way Bright Beginnings employs a holistic approach to helping children meet these landmarks.
Students who have participated in United Way Bright Beginnings and are now in grade school are earning higher test scores than their peers. Recently, Bright Beginnings kindergarten students outperformed control group students in the Houston Independent School District on the Stanford Reading assessment by a statistically significant margin.
Since its creation, United Way Bright Beginnings has seen a substantial improvement in classroom quality. All Bright Beginnings centers boast a classroom quality increase of more than 90 percent, with most increasing by more than 100 percent. Nationally-accepted research shows that higher quality child care classrooms lead to better outcomes for children, including increased readiness for school.
Highly-trained teachers contribute to high-quality classrooms. United Way Bright Beginnings has helped 217 center teachers earn a Child Development Associate certificate; 14 center teachers earn associate’s degrees in early childhood; four center teachers earn bachelor’s degrees in early childhood; and three center teachers earn master’s degrees in early childhood. Most Bright Beginnings centers report a more than 40 percent increase in staff retention.
With ExxonMobil’s generous support, United Way Bright Beginnings is able to offer wage supplementation for teachers and directors, top-flight training, dedicated experts to manage content and course corrections, and professional and academic evaluation services to assess and improve the program.
Thanks to United Way Bright Beginnings, the future for children, parents, teachers and the entire community is indeed bright, as young children are more likely to become successful adults. United Way of Greater Houston, United Way Bright Beginnings and ExxonMobil are committed to helping our children and youth reach their full potential—creating a better future for them, and our entire community.
For more information about United Way Bright Beginnings, contact Katherine von Haefen at 713-685-2846.