March 3, 2022
High-quality early education and child care enriches our children's lives and improves the long-term prospects of our entire region. Decades of research have shown that engagement and play are vital for early brain development, and that good learning environments lead to lifelong improvements in educational achievement. At the same time, reliable access to early education and care programs gives parents more flexibility to pursue their own careers.Here in the South Coast of Massachusetts, dedicated providers are already offering top-notch educational programs for our young kids, complete with wraparound services like transportation and extended hours. But challenges abound — both for the providers and for the families that need support.To better understand — and strengthen — the early education and child care landscape across our region, we at the SouthCoast Community Foundation have partnered with the Center for State Policy Analysis at Tufts University on a rigorous assessment of the best available data, supplemented by interviews with local experts and thought-leaders.This report highlights our key findings, with particular attention to issues of racial and economic justice, the landscape for individual cities and towns, and the impact wrought by COVID-19. Our emphasis throughout is on how we can support our youngest residents and brighten our collective future.