Research shows a majority of Nebraskans don't feel there's affordable quality childhood care

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SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. A research presentation by the Buffett Early Childhood Institute on Thursday highlighted the importance of having high-quality early childhood programs available in the state.

The panel briefs audience on early childhood care and education isseus during the presentation by the Buffett Early Childhood Institute

The purpose of the research done by Gallup is to understand the attitudes, beliefs and knowledge Nebraskans have on this issue. Results say nearly seven out of 10 Nebraskans feel early childhood care and education has significant impact on growth.

Senator John Stinner along with a panel of education experts held a discussion during the event emphasizing early childhood issues in The Panhandle. The panel addressed quality of education and ways to push the agenda in the legislature with the data.

The research revealed rural Nebraska say availability is the greatest challenge whereas urban areas feel cost is the biggest issue. The survey is the largest on early childhood care and education the state has ever done.

“We want to bring the best knowledge available to the people who are making policies for the rest of us in this state and this is that kind of knowledge. We will keep at it because people are beginning to understand better than ever how important the early years of life are, and we want to show them the data that supports that,” said Samuel J. Meisels, Founding Executive Director, Buffett Early Childhood Institute.

Senator Stinner says the need for high quality childcare is there and there needs to be some sort of strategy developed by the Department of Education.

About 94% of Nebraskans feel there is not high quality affordable early childhood care available in the state. The research also found a majority of Nebraska parents did not strongly feel children were prepared for kindergarten.