Marshalltown is not unlike many communities investing in its youth.
From expanded preschool opportunities to programs like the Marshalltown Education Partnership, which affords a real chance at advanced education, in many ways Marshalltown is a leader.
The most recent example of collaboration and strength in our community has been the Spread the Words-Read by 3rd campaign.
While the National Civic League led the charge by putting the spotlight on the issue, local community leaders are making strides to make a difference in Marshalltown.
It's no mistake the reading initiative is taking a closer look at school readiness. A child who has been given a quality environment in which to learn is more likely to succeed.
There are only 2,000 days between the time a baby is born and when that child shows up for the first day of kindergarten. Those days are paramount to success. They have a lasting impact on later learning.
With quality early childhood education, children will be school ready.
As the National Association for the Education of Young Children marks its "Week of the Young Child" this week, we urge you to consider how important it is to invest in a child's first years with quality programs.
Meanwhile, it's just as important to be engaged as a parent. In a world of smart phone alerts and Pinterest we urge you to consider how you're interacting with your children.
Let's not be distracted from one of our largest roles in making our children successful. This week, let's pause and assure our children they are loved and safe and way more important than a Facebook newsfeed.
With quality early childhood education and parental support, children will be school ready. We will have higher graduation rates and in turn grow productive citizens and valuable employees in our community.
We all have a role in helping kids embrace their importance in this world.