The Center has directly impacted the lives of 14,915 local children; better prepared 32,525 early education professionals; helped 1,280 early education centers and family childcare homes improve services; joined partners to successfully advocate for $100M to benefit young children in Florida

In January 2007, United Way of Miami-Dade opened the doors of the United Way Center for Excellence in Early Education to elevate the quality of early care and education with a vision that all young children will have access to quality programs, so they can have the best possible start in school and in life. Since then, the Center has directly impacted the lives of 14,915 children, offered 30,384 hours of trainings to 35,525 early care and education professionals, worked with 1,280 local early education centers and family child care homes to enhance their services, and partnered with dozens of organizations and advocated successfully for state policy and budget issues, resulting in the passage of seven early education bills and over $100M in early childhood funding increases.

The Center models evidence-based practices through its Demonstration School, Educare of Miami-Dade. It shares those practices with adult learners including families, educators and early care and education providers, and works with business leaders and lawmakers to raise the standards of early care and education and support sustainable and lasting change.

“The United Way Center for Excellence in Early Education has become a national focal point for people passionate about quality early education. By demonstrating what quality early education looks like, by educating parents, professionals and practitioners on how to deliver quality early educational experiences and by advocating business and elected leaders to make policies and investments that support quality a top priority, we can change the system of early education in our community, our state and our nation. That’s what this journey is all about,” Harve A. Mogul, president and CEO, United Way of Miami-Dade, said. “Research shows that the first years in a child’s life – when most of the brain is forming and connections are being made – sets the foundation for success in school and in life. Working hand-in-hand with many partners, both locally and nationally, our community has made great strides over the past decade and yet there is still so much more than can be done, that must be done, to ensure every child has the opportunity to reach his or her full potential.”

Providing young children with a healthy environment in which to learn and grow is not only good for their development—economists have also shown that high-quality early childhood programs bring impressive returns on investment to the public. Three of the most rigorous long-term studies highlighted in a Harvard University brief titled, “Five Numbers to Remember about Early Childhood Development” found a range of returns between $4 and $9 for every dollar invested in early learning programs for low-income children.

On Feb. 8, business and community leaders, child advocates and providers, Center partners and supporters, student and teacher alumni, families and many others will gather to celebrate the great work that has been accomplished over the past decade. Stay tuned to the Center’s website and United Way’s Facebook page for more about the Center and many of the lives it has impacted.