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September – Lunchtime Discussion with Beth Oppenheimer

By September 28, 2019Education Archives
Beth Oppenheimer, Executive Director of the Idaho chapter of the Association for the Education of Young Children, met with interested WRWF members for an Education event on September 5. Beth is an outstanding advocate for state funded and/or locally funded preschool programs in Idaho. Idaho is one of just a handful of states that provide no funding for preschool education. Blaine County does have room for 120 four-year-olds in its preschool classrooms, but those spots are paid for by parents and local taxes. Idaho AEYC is the sole provider of professional development for preschool teachers and care-givers. The Idaho AEYC also developed the Ready! for Kindergarten kits, now being used by forty families in our valley, with help from the school district. Beth said that for the first time she has been able to engage state political leaders and government agencies in a serious discussion about the dire need for early childhood programs in our state. Business leaders have also recognized that the lack of programs and services has an adverse economic impact on their employees, given that about 60% of families have both parents working outside the home and quality child care expenses exceed the budgets of many families.