Nashville Must Improve Access

This op-ed by Alyssa Garnett-Arno, executive director of Saint Mary Villa Child Development Center, first appeared in The Tennessean.

Amid the economic and population growth that all of us are celebrating in Nashville is an alarming decline in the most important part of the city’s educational landscape, a decline that has long-term consequences for our community – early childhood education.

All parents want their children to have the best possible start in life, and the importance of early childhood education is well documented. According to studies, children who are in child care centers beginning at 6 months of age are better prepared to enter pre-K and kindergarten, read at or above grade level by first grade, and form stronger social bonds with their peers.

The demand far surpasses the availability of quality, affordable child care.

In Nashville, that opportunity has not always been available to every family or child. The simple fact is that a parent’s ZIP code or income often determines what type of start that child will receive. And because of the COVID-19 pandemic, when many young children were desperately in need of the social and academic benefits of child development centers, many of these centers closed, creating high demand for quality, affordable child care that far outweighs availability. This leaves parents with nowhere to turn …

View the full op-ed in The Tennessean at the link below.

Leave a Comment