KALISPELL – Some preschool students in Kalispell had a special visitor stop by for lunch on Thursday — Governor Steve Bullock.
The Democrat visited Flathead Valley Community College to highlight the benefits of high-quality early childhood education. "The investments before a child even comes to Kindergarten are investments that will take them throughout their life," Gov. Bullock said.
The governor worked with the Montana Legislature to help secure the state’s first-ever investment in publicly-funded, high-quality early childhood education and implement the STARS preschool pilot program.
Gov. Bullock was served meatballs and rice while the students had four options of meal choices and that’s what they voted on.
"The food was great, the company was great but what’s great is seeing that our legislature made an investment in quality early childhood education and the results that we are seeing are right here at Flathead Valley Community College," Gov. Bullock said.
"We know that 90% of child’s brains develop before Kindergarten. We know if you’re not Kindergarten ready you’re half as likely to be ready grade level by third grade, not at grade level by third grade your four times more likely to drop out of high school," he added.
"It’s always a great honor to have the governor on our campus and especially at our Early Childhood Center. I know all of the children are so excited to meet the governor and thank him for the grant that’s helped make a difference in our program and what we are able to provide for the students," said FVCC President Jane Karas.
Brooks — the FVCC preschool program coordinator — says the grant has been a tremendous help in providing enrichment and future opportunity to the preschoolers.
"To support children to support families, to support educators and to help with the off the floor day to day things that we have to do as educators in the classroom we were really able to put the children first," Brooks said.
"These kids are getting on the right path for their futures in ways that other states have figured out and I’m hoping that our legislature will continue to see the value of this," Gov. Bullock told MTN News.
The governor was also expected to visit a Troy preschool classroom on Thursday but the weather forced him to cancel the trip.