OMAHA, Neb. and SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 13, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The Nebraska Early Childhood Collaborative (NECC), a strategic initiative of the Buffett Early Childhood Fund, and Wonderschool, a network of modern early care and education (ECE) programs, today announced a partnership aimed at increasing access to high-quality, family child care and education programs for Nebraska families. By providing existing and aspiring directors with the technology, curriculum, mentorship and resources they need to run a successful family child care program, NECC and Wonderschool aim to increase the number of quality, affordable child care programs across the state, including in rural areas.
According to the Economic Policy Institute, Nebraska families pay about $1,000 per month per child under 5 years old for early care and education. That's about 50 percent more annually than it costs for tuition at an in-state public university and about 20 percent more than the average cost of housing. Nebraska has a strong community of organizations working to solve this crisis, and this partnership will build on the strength of that work by integrating Wonderschool's technology platform and business support that has helped hundreds of providers and thousands of families in California, New York, and Colorado. Together, NECC and Wonderschool will work to give Nebraska families more high-quality and affordable options in their area, while empowering a new generation of early childhood education entrepreneurs.
"Solving the early childhood care and education gap to high-quality programs in Nebraska can't be a one-size-fits-all approach. It will require helping parents to find existing programs, creating new programs, and offering tools to help providers across the state achieve higher quality," said Shannon Cotsoradis, CEO of NECC. "Our partnership with Wonderschool is a great example of how nonprofit and private sector organizations can come together to deliver the technology, services and support that program directors and the families they serve need to build thriving ECE programs in both urban and rural communities. We look forward to working with [Wonderschool co-founder and CEO] Chris Bennett and the entire Wonderschool team to ensure that every Nebraska child has the option to get an early childhood education that they deserve."
Each Wonderschool provider commits to the Wonderschool Quality & Safety Promise (QSP) designed to ensure great experiences for children, to help program directors achieve their professional goals and development, and to support the trusting relationship with parents that are at the center of high-quality childcare. Being part of the Wonderschool network also builds professional community and shared access to resources that can be enormously valuable to independent, sometimes isolated family child care providers. By partnering with NECC, an organization with experience supporting early care and education providers in Omaha, Lincoln, and other parts of Nebraska, Wonderschool can further its mission to ensure every child under the age of five has access to early education to help them realize their full potential.
"Like many states, Nebraska has thousands of families that are struggling with a lack of access to quality, convenient, and affordable early education," said Chris Bennett, co-founder and CEO of Wonderschool. "Solving the problem starts with increasing the supply of programs not only to meet overall demand but also to provide quality options that satisfy a family's philosophy, location and schedule. By combining our technology and ECE resources with NECC's incredible work supporting early education in Nebraska, we'll make it easier for educators to better manage their businesses and provide quality choices for the communities they serve."
Current or aspiring family child care directors interested in working with Wonderschool and NECC can sign up at www.nebraskaearly.org/wonderschool or email us at [email protected] to start learning how to launch or get support for their program. Beginning in early 2020, Nebraska parents will be able to discover and enroll in programs in their area by searching the Wonderschool website, instantly scheduling tours and applying directly online. All programs are thoroughly vetted and supported by Wonderschool and NECC's teams of early childhood education experts.
Wonderschool is building the largest network of modern early education programs. Wonderschool offers a diversity of options and combines engaged teachers and thoughtful education with warmth of a family program while maintaining standards that go above and beyond state requirements. By providing dedicated support, technology, training, mentorship, and community, Wonderschool lets teachers focus on what they do best -- teaching -- and allows them to earn a sustainable living in the field they love. Named one of Fast Company's Most Innovative Companies in Education in 2019, Wonderschool is based in San Francisco and venture-backed by Andreessen Horowitz, First Round, Omidyar, Unusual Ventures, and Gary Community Investments, among others. www.wonderschool.com.
About the Nebraska Early Childhood Collaborative
The Nebraska Early Childhood Collaborative (NECC) relies on shared services principles to elevate the business of early care and education and to increase access to high-quality child care for all Nebraska families. www.nebraskaearly.org.