Have a Heart for Kids Day rally, 2015

Six legislators honored for work to expand access to high-quality early learning

Six state legislators were honored for their commitment to the first five years of a child’s life on Saturday, Sept. 17 , with Crayon Awards from the Early Learning Action Alliance.

The awards were presented to Senators Joe Fain (R-47th) and Steve Litzow (R-41st) and Representatives Chad Magendanz (R-5th), Ruth Kagi (D-32nd), Eric Pettigrew (D-37th) and Tana Senn (D-41st) at Green River College by representatives of the Early Learning Action Alliance.

“The foundation for educational success is built in the earliest years,” said Children’s Alliance deputy director Jon Gould. “Access to high-quality early learning is critical to closing the gap for children who start out with fewer opportunities. These legislators understand that early learning builds strong kids and strong communities. Their public service has improved opportunities for Washington’s children.”

“It was a pleasure to welcome six legislators who are so deeply committed to ensuring all children have a good start in life,” said Deeann Puffert, chief executive officer of Child Care Resources. “These members should serve as role models to others.”

These awards were presented at the bi-annual Fall Family Child Care Conference organized by Child Care Resources, which gives family child care providers an opportunity to come together for professional development and networking. The Early Start Act, which legislators passed and funded in the 2015 legislative session, contains provisions designed to promote quality, culturally relevant early learning for children of diverse family backgrounds.

Since 2010, the Early Learning Action Alliance has recognized the work of legislators in early learning with Crayon Awards. These six King County legislators are among 18 lawmakers across the state receiving Crayon Awards for their work on early learning policy. These leaders understand that children need high-quality, culturally relevant care to help them become resilient, successful learners. Investments in the first years of a child’s life are critical to closing the gap for children starting out with fewer opportunities.

While Crayon Awards recognize achievements over the 2015 and 2016 legislative sessions, the Early Learning Action Alliance sees these policymakers as continuing leaders who are poised to grow their colleagues’ understanding about the importance of early learning and urge positive policies and investments for young children.

The event was a nonprofit 501(c)(3) permissible activity and cannot be connected to any election-related intent or activity. See the full list of Crayon Awardees here.