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Mountain View Families Benefit from Subsidized Preschool Tuition

News for 08.23.18
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Families in Mountain View Benefit from Subsidized Preschool Tuition

By Tracey Fecher, Vice President of Programs

Laurie Siu, a resident of Mountain View, spent several months looking for a full-time job so she could best support her two daughters; Amy (3-years-old) and Milena (7 months old).  To be available to work a full-time job, Laurie’s oldest daughter Amy would need to be enrolled in preschool care during the day while her mom cared for her youngest daughter Milena.  “The problem I had was in finding affordable child care for Amy,” said Laurie.

For several months while Laurie was searching for a job and looking for affordable child care, she would take her daughter Amy to the city libraries and attend FIRST 5 classes -- a program that helps parents support healthy development in their young children. The FIRST 5 classes that Laurie attended were held at First 5’s Family Resource Center, co-located in the City of Mountain View building where Gatepath’s Learning Links Preschool operates. It was there that she learned about the subsidized tuition program offered by the City of Mountain View and Gatepath at Learning Links Preschool. Laurie applied for the tuition assistance program and was accepted – allowing her the ability to provide a high quality early childhood education for her daughter and work full-time.

“I am so grateful for the help from the City of Mountain View and Learning Links. With Amy in preschool and my mother taking care of Milena, I can adequately provide for my daughters,” said Laurie.

Learning Links Preschool operates the Mountain View Childcare Center at Rengstorff Park for the City of Mountain View. Through a partnership, the City of Mountain View and Gatepath fund tuition subsidies based on a sliding scale that offers low-income families tuition assistance in alignment with the family’s income. Children from low-income families deserve equitable access to high-quality early childhood education programs, which benefits these children by providing diverse learning experiences that support their development and prepare them for kindergarten. The entire Mountain View community benefits from the investment being made in early learning when the children begin to attend their local elementary school.

Demand for early childhood education is increasing and supply has not sufficiently met demand. In Santa Clara County, there is a shortage of 7,500 spots for children ages 3 to 5 in an early childhood education program, like pre-K or preschool. For children of low-income families, access to quality early education is integral for producing strong outcomes later in life. Early childhood education is correlated with higher educational attainment and has a positive impact on social and behavioral outcomes.

Early education also has a significant impact on developmental progress because the most intensive period of brain development occurs in the first five years of life. Children who participate in early education show greater long-term attainment in academic achievement, cognition, and higher education. Early education also has a positive impact on emotional and behavioral outcomes.

Once Amy started Preschool, Laurie saw a big change in Amy socially and in her level of confidence. Laurie’s favorite part of Learning Links is the safe environment and the wonderful teachers. She said her daughter’s favorite activities at school are art and dance.

“Before Amy attended preschool, she was not very social, and she was only comfortable with me.  Since starting preschool, Amy has made lots of friends and is becoming less dependent on me,” Laurie said.  “There is a noticeable change in her learning, especially in her vocabulary since she started communicating with her classmates.”

Laurie said she appreciates Learning Links, not only for their care and the quality education they provide, but how the teachers go above and beyond.  They offered to take care of Milena for a week when Laurie’s mother was out of town. “Learning Links has changed my family’s life.  I cannot wait for Milena to be enrolled there too,” Laurie said.