Friday, October 7, 2011

Governor, families, teachers join DEL in celebrating 25 years of ECEAP

Almost 170,000 children have been part of the state-funded preschool program (Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program, or ECEAP) since it began in 1985. Last night, families, ECEAP graduates, teachers and state leaders celebrated 25 years of growing Washington’s future at an ECEAP reception in Olympia.

Governor Chris Gregoire kicked off the evening, saying, “If we get it right early with a child, then they will succeed in school and they will succeed in life, and they won’t end up in the safety net.” Watch the Governor’s remarks on DEL’s YouTube channel.

Rep. Jeannie Darneille, D-Tacoma, spoke about her experience as the first ECEAP staff member in 1985. She wrote the first set of ECEAP performance standards and set up the first pilots around the state.

Another highlight of the evening was Melissa Estrada, a former ECEAP student who graduated valedictorian of her high school and is now studying to become a nurse.

Watch for photos from the evening and a special 25th anniversary publication, “ECEAP: Making a Difference,” to be posted soon on the ECEAP section of the DEL website.