In the first event of its kind, community leaders and elected officials gathered over three days to learn about the importance of early childhood education, discover where Northwest Louisiana stands in statistics, and drafted collaborative goals to improve early education outcomes. Hosted by Step Forward and the Community Foundation of North Louisiana, the summit took place September, 20th, October 18th and November 15th. 

“Research shows that early education improves long term outcomes,” said Mayor Perkins. “Children are our future. For Shreveport to thrive in the future, we have to invest now. This summit is a good first step.”

“With 90% of the brain developing by age five, learning must begin at birth.” Says Laura Alderman, executive director of Step Forward. “The outcomes of our young children predict the outcomes of our community.”

Throughout the three day summit, attendees worked together to draft long and short term goals to address the Outcomes for early childhood education.

NWLA Early Childhood Policy Summit Vision Statement: 
The community owns the effort to achieve kindergarten readiness for all children by providing and aligning the necessary resources for families. 

Strategy 1: 
To create & disseminate a consistent community message for early brain development and implications on society at large. 

Strategy 2: 
To identify, link together, improve, and expand all systems to strengthen families and promote quality and affordable childcare and kindergarten readiness. 

The Northwest Louisiana Early Childhood Policy Summit was sponsored by The Community Foundation of North Louisiana, Aetna Better Health of Louisiana, The Committee of One Hundred, the Grayson Foundation, and the NSULA Early Childhood Center.

For more updates, stay tuned to Step Forward’s Facebook page.