Video clips of “Cradle to Kindergarten: A New Plan to Combat Inequality” round table discussion

Posted on April 4, 2018

On January 29, 2018, Advocates for Children of New Jersey held a roundtable discussion and book signing for the Cradle to Kindergarten: A New Plan to Combat Inequality. ACNJ president/CEO Cecilia Zalkind provided closing remarks. Special thanks to Arturo Brito, Executive Director of the Nicholson Foundation & Steve Adubato! Guest Included:

  • Ajay Chaudry, Co-Author: Cradle to Kindergarten
  • Taryn Morrissey, Co-Author: Cradle to Kindergarten
  • Bonnie Eggenburg, Vice President of Gateway Community Action Agency
  • Ellen Frede, Co-Director of National Institute for Early Education Research
  • Beverly Lynn, CEO of Programs for Parents
  • Karen White, Director of Center for Women and Work

Below are some highlights from the event.

Dr. Arturo Brito paints a picture of the vulnerability of babies

The time between birth and kindergarten is critical for child development. But did you know, 150,000 children with working parents wake up each morning in New Jersey without reliable child care?

Ajay Chaudry, PhD discusses what the biggest inequality is…

Having access to quality preschool and early child care are building blocks for a better adulthood. And in other developed countries, children begin school by age three. Preschool in the US is a luxury that only a quarter of families can afford.

Taryn Morrissey PhD, speaks about the long-term and short-term effects

Taryn Morrissey highlights the differences in children who are ready for kindergarten versus those who are not. It is important to invest in quality early learning experiences so that all children have equal opportunity for preschool and kindergarten readiness programs. Children who do not attend preschool are more likely to have behavioral problems and less likely to graduate high school.

Ajay Chaudry, PhD discusses the 3 keys to success

The first key to combating preschool inequalities is to provide paid leave for newborn parents. The second key is to support child care costs for families in need by introducing a refundable tax credit. The third key is to offer free preschool to low and middle-income children ages 3 and 4.

Taryn Morrissey, PhD comments on our investments

Investing in preschool will decrease both k-12 and remedial education costs. Children who experience preschool are also less likely to end up in the criminal justice system. A strong start in education will give kids a better chance at becoming productive members of society.

Ellen Frede, PhD comments on universal pre-school

Ellen Frede, PhD. explains that the goal of universal preschool isn’t just for low-income families. She references the success of kindergarten and Head Start programs.

Ajay Chaudry, PhD asks, “What Kind of State Do We Want?” 

There are less than a handful of states who offer family leave. Shouldn’t all parents have the same opportunity to stay home and bond with their newborn for 12 weeks?

Beverly Lynn & Ellen Frede, PhD discuss high-quality child care

Beverly Lynn EdD, discusses the Child Care Development Block Grant. She explains how the grant needs to include children younger than the age of 3. She stresses that those years are the building blocks to preschool achievements.

Cecilia Zalkind comments on the new plan

ACNJ’s CEO/president Cecilia Zalkind explains how New Jersey has had a law in place to fund preschool expansion since 2008 but has yet to achieve the goal of expansion. The state needs to look at early child care as one system instead of separating them. She talks about conversations she had with young families unable to find quality child care for their babies.

Dr. Arturo Brito, & Taryn Morrissey, PhD, “pay now or pay later”.

High-quality early education has far-reaching benefits including an increased likelihood of being able to read by third grade, social and emotional growth, and a reduction in special education referrals. The benefits of preschool will save the state money in the long run.

Karen White speaks about the importance of paid leave

Being able to stay home with a newborn gives  parents a chance to bond with the baby and make important decisions regarding their care.


Bonnie Eggenburg comments on the neglect for child care programs in NJ

Research shows that every child benefits from infant and toddler care and preschool. Bonnie Eggenburg discusses her feelings on universal early childhood care. She states that it is neglectful to not have this care offered to every child in the United States.

Taryn Morrissey, PhD & Ajay Chaudry, PhD discuss the progress

Many people can relate first-hand to the struggles of families with young children, including state lawmakers. In addition, public opinion polling has found that advancing early childhood education is an issue that vast majority supports. It’s important to capitalize on this momentum.

Cecilia Zalkind Closing Remarks

ACNJ’s CEO/president Cecilia Zalkind commends the dedication and hard work of NJ advocates who want to see equal access to child care and preschool across the state. She announces ACNJ’s advocacy campaign to improve child care for babies.

Beverly Lynn & Ellen Frede, PhD closing comments

Everyone will benefit from the Cradle to Kindergarten plan. Ellen Frede explains, “Another year we wait is another year we fail our children”.