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* U.S. Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Ruth Kagi celebrate 70th Anniversary of Parenting Education in Washington State

Barb Lee Ruth Kenny.jpgWe know that the key to our economic strength is education.  And as a former preschool teacher, I’ve seen first-hand what a difference quality home learning and preschool programs make in the life of a child, Senator Murray said in a press release earlier this year that announced bills on school readiness, the Ready to Learn Act and the Education Begins at Home Act.  

U.S. Senator Patty Murray has a special place in her heart for parent education programs, in particular Shoreline Community College’s Cooperative Preschool Program.   

“I have a strong tie to this program.  I was a parent in the Shoreline Cooperative Preschool Program back in the 1980s when our state legislature cut funding for the program,” said Murray, who led a successful grassroots campaign to save the program. 

Recently at a celebration of the 70th anniversary of parenting education in Washington state hosted by the college’s Parent Education Program, community members listened to Sen. Murray thank the college for helping thousands of young people and their families get a good, healthy start in education in life via a taped message.

“Children who go to preschool are more likely to learn to read quickly, do better in school and go on to earn more as adults,” the senator said.  “In my book, it’s one of the most valuable, cost-effective investments we can make.  So I’m absolutely thrilled to see parent education and the Cooperative Preschool Program at Shoreline continue to grow and thrive.  I’m proud to say congratulations, happy birthday and thank you for everything you do.”

The celebration, sponsored by the Shoreline Community College Parent Education Program was held at the North City Education Center where three of the seven Shoreline cooperative preschools are located — North City, Shorenorth and Shoreline Co-op Preschools.   Teachers from the other college cooperative preschools, Woodinville, Lake Forest Park, Inglemoor and Crystal Springs, also planned and participated at the event.  Children and parents enjoyed various activities such as an “Under the Sea” theme room where children enjoyed fresh-water and salt-water tables that held seaweed, shells, rocks and goldfish.  The event was part of a statewide celebration.

Shoreline Community College President Lee Lambert welcomed the families and applauded the college’s program and other early education programs, saying that beyond the education, they provide an impressive return on our investment.   

“We are so glad that we are a college that supports the development of our young future generation by ensuring that their first teachers, their parents, are equipped with the appropriate skills to understand the development needs of their children,” said Lambert.   

Rep. Ruth Kagi, who, like Murray, was a parent in the Shoreline program, was there to celebrate the impressive 70 year mark.  “I don’t know how I would have survived without parent education.” 

Parent Education Coordinator Barb Yasui thanked Rep. Kagi personally.  ”She has been such a tireless advocate for early education in our state,” Yasui said, pointing out that Rep. Kagi has been a leader in sponsoring bills, holding hearings, and convincing other legislators of the importance of early learning.

”The legacy of support for the Parent Education Program at Shoreline is impressive, and it was wonderful to have so many families, former preschool teachers, college officials, and Rep. Kagi celebrate this milestone with us,” said Yasui.

The future of parenting education is promising.    Yasui noted that “Everyone from President Obama to business leaders is emphasizing the importance of early childhood education.”

In 2008, Gov. Chris Gregoire named October 23 as Parenting Education Day in Washington State.

SCC Parent Education Program

The Parent Education Program provides developmentally appropriate learning experiences for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and their families

Parents pay a monthly tuition to their child's cooperative preschool. In addition, parents pay a minimal tuition to the college. As parent education program students at Shoreline Community College, they earn college credits each quarter.

Shoreline Community College offers a unique parent education program that consists of a child-centered preschool laboratory setting and adult-centered lectures and discussion groups.

In the preschool classroom laboratory, parents become active partners in their child's education. Research supports the long-term benefits of this type of early parent involvement. Skilled Shoreline Community College faculty plan and implement learning opportunities for both parents and children. These learning experiences help to empower parents to build on their strengths.

The mission of this program is to support parents as they become directly involved in their children's education.

Shoreline Community College launched the cooperative preschools and parent education program in 1961, which today supports more than 400 families.

                                                                         -- Donna Myers, SCC

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