- One in two children in Cincinnati lives in poverty.
The child poverty rate in Cincinnati is the second highest in the country, which means 1 in 2 children in Cincinnati lives in poverty. These children are the neediest, the most blameless and they comprise our future. If hundreds of poor children cannot get to school they become part of a nation- wide statistic as the population of children that fail to thrive. They fall critically behind due to the numerous factors associated with poverty which include: poor nutrition, poor health care, limited access to education, often low parent engagement, (sometimes at its worst abuse and neglect). Recognizing these factors, CUB’s pre-school “Move that Bus” program helps ensure that poor children will be able to get to school just like other children do in our community! Providing needed transportation to school gives children from poor families the opportunity to: reach critical developmental milestones, get fed every day, be healthy, learn and play, and engage their families in community resources they need. It’s critical to them to get this start, it’s critical to our community to give them this start as every child matters and they comprise our future.
- Without bus transportation, poor children can’t get to school.
To get to our schools, poor children have to ride a bus as the majority of parents don’t have access to a car or means of transportation. Added to the problem is that every three out of four children living in poverty have single parents—the majority of whom work every day or every night. These life circumstances of poverty make it extremely difficult to get their little ones to preschool, and although they may be enrolled in school without some means to get there they will not attend.
- We provide star quality education they don’t receive at home.
Initially, the children we serve have already fallen behind in reaching milestone successes. Statistically children living in poverty are already at-risk by age 4 as they have heard 30 million fewer words than a child from a higher income family.
Our Head Start sites are unique because of their quality and creative curriculum. To make sure that every child has the same fair start and to prepare children for kindergarten, our programs offer 5 star rated preschool education that prepares children for kindergarten and become enthusiastic life- long learners. In Addition, we offer wrap around services to parents and families.
Because of our commitment to quality, we have achieved up to a remarkable 87% of our children being ready for kindergarten, surpassing the community goal. We invest in great teachers who encourage children, inspire hope to families, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning that will continue to grow. We believe that all children need a successful start in school and someone who believes in them.
Our learning plans meet children’s learning needs, and also challenge them enough to promote intellectual growth and curiosity, something children in low-income families are less likely to receive at home.
- Academic success=future stability.
In addition to improving areas such as math and language, these children are building independence, confidence, and trust. Additionally, children who attend preschool are more likely to do better in school overall and perform better on standardized tests. This academic success leads to future stability. Studies tell us that children who have a good start in preschool are more likely to go on to graduate high-school, (even college), become gainfully employed and earn higher incomes than the children who did not attend a quality preschool.
- The first three years of life are critical.
Why is bus transportation so important? It is critically important because it is how children living in poverty access education and accessing education can change the outcome for their lives. Children living in poverty are missing out on invaluable experiences and critical needs being met, such as: needed health care, reaching developmental milestones, healthy nutrition, social and emotional interaction and stability, all which impacts the difference between success and failure later in life. Intervene early and intervene often as 90% of a child’s brain is formed before the age of 5 (Harvard Center for the Developing Child) which supports the critical need for Early childhood Education.
- Preschool has long-term benefits.
Most recent research shows an accumulation of evidence that children who have attended preschool go on to show positive effects on important adolescent and young adult outcomes, such as higher high school graduation, reduced teen pregnancy, years of education completed, earnings, and reduced crime (Society for Research in Child Development).
Also, according to Preschool Promise, it is also a smart investment for the future of our community, proving cheaper than to wait until these children are held back a grade, which is more likely to happen without preschool. “Cincinnati children who are ready for school are twice as likely to be reading successfully by the end of 3rd grade. Children who do not meet that milestone are at least four times more likely to drop out of high school. Poverty only compounds that problem. This year, children in Ohio will be held back if they are not reading proficiently by 3rd grade, costing the public education system millions of additional dollars.”
- We provide nutritious meals so they don’t go hungry.
These children are at risk of failure due to a long list of factors associated with poverty: often this includes poor nutrition and poor health care. By gaining access to preschool poor children also gain access to nutritious school meals, physicals, health assessments and connection to the resources needed to resolve any needed developmental or health concerns. We know that if they can’t get to preschool that these needs will go unmet.
We provide health screenings and medical assessments.
Cincinnati Union Bethel (CUB Academies) partners with the Hondros Nursing College and the University of Cincinnati to implement on-site medical visits and health screenings for the children. This allows the nurses to get hands-on experience and training while helping the children’s health status. The program also uses a collaborative model to incorporate health and nutrition into every aspect of the children’s education in order to provide a wholesome environment to encourage healthy eating habits.
In addition, CUB Academies staff uses WeTHIRVE! (a country-wide initiative that works to create a culture of health, safety, and vitality throughout Hamilton County) to make sure the curriculum has the most current, effective practice incorporated into their nutrition plans. Our Nutrition Manger creates menus that are approved by the US Department of Agriculture and the Child and Adult Care Food Program.
- Head Start is cost-effective and important for the future of our community.
According to the National Head Start Association, it is also more cost-effective because of bigger problems. “For every dollar spent on Head Start, society earns back at least $7 through increased earnings from employment, and family stability and decreased welfare dependency, crime costs, grade repetition and special education.”