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Why does early learning matter?


From the day a child is born, there are 2,190 days—the critical early years—for parents and communities to give children a smart start. 


  • Nearly 90% of brain growth takes place during the first five years of life. During the early years, 700 new neural connections are formed every second—the connections that build brain architecture and the foundation upon which all later learning, behavior, and health depend.  

  • By kindergarten, a tremendous difference already exists between children who have had quality early learning experiences and those who have not—severely reducing their chances of ever catching up. 

  • Investing in the education of Kansas’ youngest learners helps strengthen the future economic position of our state. Evidence shows that every dollar invested in quality early care and education saves taxpayers $7-$11 in future costs for reduced grade retention, crime, and other public assistance. 


Reno County
is facing challenging early childhood issues


  • There are approximately 4,000 children under the age of five in Reno County, yet only 57.5% of children ages three and four are enrolled in preschool or private nursery school. (2017 Opportunity Index)

  • Kindergarten teachers at all six Reno County public school districts reported that nearly 20% of their students entering kindergarten in 2017 did not have all of the skills needed to be ready to learn. (K-Ready Coalition of United Way of Reno County)

  • With 18% of Reno County children living in poverty, free, high-quality preschool is a top priority. (2018 County Health Rankings)

  • Recruitment and retention of quality licensed teachers in child care and preschools. 

  • Transportation to and from preschool for half-day programs. 

  • Availability and affordability of high-quality, infant child care.​

Get involved


  1. Join the K-Ready Coalition of the United Way of Reno County to work alongside early childhood educators, funders, community representatives, and school district leadership to empower parents, improve communication with parents about resources, and educate the public on the value of early education. Contact Lisa Gleason ( for more information. 

  2. Join the Early Childhood Council, our local inter-agency coordinating council, to advocate for services for young children. Parents are encouraged to attend! Contact Val Shober ( for more information. 

  3. Contact your local, state, and federal representatives to express your support of early childhood initiatives and funding.

  4. Learn how you can strengthen your business and community through effective investments in children and youth at 

  5. Learn more about infant mental health and solutions to problems our kids and families are facing at 

  6. Tell other parents and community resources about!

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