Major USA ECEC provider calls for innovation and public-private partnerships for strong future
Innovation in early education is the key to developing a strong future workforce, Jo Kirchner, CEO of a leading provider of early childhood education and care (ECEC) in the USA has said.
Ms Kirchner – CEO of Primrose Schools, which has 400 ECEC services across 29 states in the USA – made the comments at the Council for a Strong America’s 2018 ReadyNation Global Business Summit on Early Education in New York last week.
“We’re preparing children to work, live and lead in a world we can’t fully imagine,” Ms Kirchner said. “In order to nurture a creative, agile and resourceful workforce, the early education industry (sic) – and our entire society – must constantly innovate and collaborate, or we risk failing our children and hindering their futures.”
Referencing a research report released by Dell Technologies last year, that found 85 per cent of the jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t even been invented yet, Ms Kirchner pledged to prioritise innovation in Primrose Schools and challenged others to do the same.
Ms Kirchner explained that Primrose is currently driving innovation in its classrooms through an in-house developed, research-informed Balanced Learning® approach, which nurtures children’s intellectual, creative, physical and social-emotional development.
“We know our Balanced Learning approach works,” Ms Kirchner said. “The children in our schools consistently achieve high scores on school readiness measures, and we’re working to find a way to share what we do with [vulnerable] communities, which have the most to gain by getting access to high-quality early education and care.”
But Ms Kirchner acknowledged that Primrose couldn’t do this alone – highlighting the importance of public-private partnerships to improve nationwide access to quality ECEC services and urging business executives, politicians, healthcare professionals and philanthropists work together.
Ms Kircher said early childhood is the best time to introduce and reinforce healthy habits and character traits along with fundamental intellectual, creative and physical skills.
“The earlier children learn positive behaviours, the more likely they are to adopt those behaviours for life,” she said. “We must ensure that our most vulnerable children receive the right foundation for learning and life.
“Access to high-quality ECEC is critical to our nation’s future,” Ms Kirchner said. “We must work together to educate and nurture our youngest citizens so they are equipped to keep our country and our economy strong.”