Editor's Note: The Honorable Lula Davis-Holmes, Councilwoman, City of Carson, has devoted more than 27 years of service to her community. Currently, she's finishing her first term on the City Council. We spoke recently to the councilwoman at LAUSD's Dolores Early Education Center. Davis-Holmes has sponsored a city resolution to support preschool in her community, and we are proud to feature her as a preschool supporter. The following is excerpts from that conversation.
Q: What kind of impact do you think preschool can have on the development of children?
A: I think preschool has a very positive and long-lasting effect on the development of children. To begin, a preschool atmosphere helps young children develop social skills including communication, sharing, making friends, listening skills and respect for others. Preschool is often their first experience in a group setting, and they are better prepared socially when they enter kindergarten. I also think preschool gives children an educational head start. They will be familiar with shapes and colors, letters and numbers, and that can only help them as they take the next step in their education. The more confident they are, the more willing they will be to participate in class, and they will develop a love for learning.
Q: Why do you think families in your city should have access to preschool, and how will that benefit not only the individual students, but the community as well?
A: I believe all families in Carson should have access to preschool simply because there are so many benefits to giving kids that kind of head start. Preschool teaches social skills at a very critical time in a child's development, and all children should have access to a nurturing, supportive environment when it matters most. Times are tough right now, and the reality is that most parents and guardians have to work. Giving children access to preschool means providing a safe learning environment while parents are at work, doing what they need to do to support their families. The individual children will benefit socially and educationally, of course, but the community will benefit from the well-rounded, productive citizens these children become.
Q: Why is it important for public officials, such as you, to step forward and advocate on behalf of preschool?
A: I am here to represent and serve the citizens of Carson to the best of my ability, and that includes not only advocating for the residents, but also advocating for the programs that are beneficial to the community. Preschool is one of those programs. It is my duty to support the programs that create a solid foundation for this community. These children are our future, and if it means raising awareness about the benefits of preschool, if it means advocating for affordable and accessible programs, then I will happily do my part to provide these children with the start they so deserve.
Q: What would you say to other public officials to urge them to join the effort and support preschool?
A: I would strongly suggest that public officials take a look at the very strong supporting evidence in favor of preschool. There are many studies that discuss the benefits of a preschool education, including better reading and math scores, highly developed social skills and an eagerness to learn that is life-long. As public officials, we do our best to provide a safe, nurturing, supportive community for our residents. If preschool fosters that kind of environment, we should certainly do everything in our power to advocate for affordable, accessible programs for all.