Early Education

Child Care and Early Education

As a former pre-school teacher, Senator Murray knows how critical it is that all children start school ready to succeed.  Because the first couple of years in a child’s life are tremendously important in his or her growth and development, the Senator has worked her entire career to ensure that all of our nation’s kids have access to high-quality child care and early childhood education.

Head Start Program

Since it was created in 1965, Head Start has helped more than 20 million low-income children develop the social, emotional, and cognitive skills they need to succeed in school.  Head Start provides an array of educational, medical, nutritional, and social services to pregnant women, children from birth to age 5, and their families.

As a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, Senator Murray helped craft and pass an updated and improved Head Start law in 2007.  Officially called the Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act, the new law enables more families living just above the federal poverty line to qualify for enrollment.  It renewed the program’s focus on school readiness by implementing new standards and more accurate assessments, and it established bold new qualification goals for Head Start teachers.

One of the Senator’s goals for the legislation was to preserve and increase the critical role that parents play in helping to shape and resolve local Head Start issues.  Parents are valuable assets to the Head Start Policy Councils, and the updated law enables them to stay engaged in their children’s education.  She also fought hard for a provision to increase Head Start access for homeless and foster children.  The new Head Start law improves transportation for these kids, and places a priority on enrolling them.