Louisiana Early Ed Month



Local government, business leaders join United Way in celebration of Louisiana Early Ed Month 


NEW ORLEANS (Feb. 02, 2023) —Local government and business leaders Thursday attended the Early Education Month Leadership Convening for greater New Orleans hosted by United Way of Southeast Louisiana (UWSELA) as part of the annual Louisiana Early Ed Month, happening throughout February across Louisiana.  

Today’s event – held in partnership between the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children (LPIC), the Louisiana Early Childhood Business Roundtable, Louisiana Association of United Ways (LAUW), and UWSELA – gathered local government, business leaders and partners in St. Tammany Parish to place a spotlight on the critical and ongoing need to increase and improve access to quality early care and education (ECE) for children, birth through age four.  

“Our mission is to help all families achieve their potential and live healthy, financially stable lives. Providing children a strong start in life and education while supporting parents in the workforce is foundational for thriving families and communities,” said Michael Williamson, UWSELA president and CEO. “Child care is the single greatest expense for many families with children in Louisiana and is often out of reach for our most vulnerable households. Robust investments in high-quality early care and education must be a priority for our state – for our children, for our families, for our future.” 

Today, UWSELA hosted one of Louisiana Early Ed Month’s signature events at the Little Red Schoolhouse in Covington, which included a tour of the center for a firsthand perspective of what high-quality ECE looks like, the challenges providers and families face, and the importance of supporting child care providers for Louisiana’s working families.

“Louisiana loses over a billion dollars in productivity each year because children don’t have access to high-quality child care. This event allows us to demonstrate the importance of investing in early education in our state,” said Dr. Libbie Sonnier, Ph.D., executive director of LPIC. “It’s important for Louisiana legislators and business leaders to connect with child care providers in order to understand the crucial role they play in serving children, families, businesses, and educators in their communities through early care and education programs.”
“We work with over 100 families and enjoy every moment spent educating their children. But the reality is, while we are caring for our students, parents and caregivers are spending their time working and contributing to Louisiana’s economy,” said Pam Miley, owner and director of the Little Red Schoolhouse. “We are grateful for the awareness the 2023 Early Ed Month raises about the importance of serving children and their families with high-quality care and supports. The center provides care across the spectrum, accepting child care assistance and private pay families. Our care allows parents to seek employment knowing that we are working hard to educate our young learners and keep them safe.”

“At Louisiana Association of United Ways, we’ve seen firsthand the importance early care and education plays in the lives of our youngest learners and have advocated for this cause through the many challenges of these past few years,” said Sarah Berthelot, president and CEO of LAUW. “Today, 60% of Louisiana children begin kindergarten behind their peers and children who begin school behind generally remain behind. Investing in early care and education will help ensure that more young children in Louisiana are entering school prepared. We urge legislators to act now to prioritize funding and access to quality early care and education – for the benefit of Southeast Louisiana and our entire state.”

To learn more about early child care and education in Louisiana, please visit PolicyInstituteLA.com. Additionally, you can join in the conversation by using #LAEarlyEdMonth on social media. 




About United Way of Southeast Louisiana
For almost 100 years, United Way of Southeast Louisiana (UWSELA) has been a leader and trusted partner in improving lives and making a lasting difference. We fight to eradicate poverty by preparing people for quality jobs, growing incomes, and affording better health and education opportunities throughout Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Washington parishes. We have a bold vision of equitable communities where all individuals are healthy, educated, and financially stable – and we have a plan. United Way of Southeast Louisiana’s Blueprint for Prosperity guides all strategic investments in programs, initiatives, collaborations, volunteerism, and advocacy aimed at tackling poverty. For more information, please visit UnitedWaySELA.org. Find us on social: @UnitedWaySELA. 


About Louisiana Policy Institute for Children
Louisiana Policy Institute for Children is a 501(c)(3) nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring that Louisiana's young children, from birth to age four, are best prepared for success in school and in life. The Policy Institute develops policy proposals informed by data, research, best practices and the experiences of other states to improve the outcomes of Louisiana’s youngest citizens, and further provides educational and outreach activities based on recommended policy solutions. The organization works to ensure children are safe, healthy and have the opportunity to reach their full potential. For more information, visit www.policyinstitutela.org and follow the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children on Facebook and Twitter. 


About Louisiana Association of United Ways
The Louisiana Association of United Ways is an association of nine regional United Ways serving 53 parishes throughout Louisiana. Our mission is to integrate action and resources for the common good. We work across our communities to tackle challenges that affect individuals, families and whole communities — challenges that are ultimately bigger than any of us and impact our entire state. We are part of a global network of more than 1,800 United Ways, servicing communities in 41 countries.