We commend President Obama for recognizing the value of preschool for young children and welcome federal leadership and resources to expand quality early learning opportunities for young children.

The President’s proposal to increase access to Early Head Start, home visitation services for at-risk families, and preschool is an important affirmation of the educational, social and economic benefits associated with quality early learning programs.

Research shows that high quality preschool experiences help prepare children for Kindergarten and provide the foundation for later success in life.

Given the gaps in access to quality early education programs, the President’s proposal for universal preschool is timely and urgent. Approximately 50 percent of California’s at-risk 3- and 4-year-olds do not attend preschool, and fewer attend what is deemed a “high quality” preschool.

We have long known that investment in quality early childhood education boosts our kids’ success in school and has even more long-term benefits. As the national conversation about the importance of quality early childhood education becomes more fully engaged, First 5 LA stands ready to work with our federal, state and county policy leaders to ensure that every child has the opportunity to access quality early learning programs.