Zero to Three is a great publication for any library that serves folks who care about and work with very young children. Their Web site, http://www.zerotothree.org/, doesn’t have their printed journal’s content, unfortunately, but there are several articles and features worth visiting, and new things pop up from time to time. Zero to Three keeps reminding as many of us as will listen that there’s a place in which the lives of the youngest Americans collide with a political system that continually professes a love for children, but frequently doesn’t seem to want to spend a whole lot of money on them. Young children aren’t terrorists, they don’t bring big profits to the economy, and they don’t have big lobbying firms to donate money to politicians, so they often attract less attention than other forces at work in Washington, DC.

Right now the site highlights a PDF document* that anyone interested in young children should read; it’s called “Babies Can’t Wait! A Presidential Agenda to Support Families with Vulnerable Infants and Toddlers.” Zero to Three designed it as a discussion-starter for any of us who get the chance to communicate with any of the presidential candidates or their staff people, to ask them what the candidates intend to do to help young children who need help getting ready to learn. For example, less than three percent of the babies and toddlers eligible for Early Head Start are actually enrolled in that program, due to lack of federal funds.

“Babies Can’t Wait” also pumps for something anyone involved with young children knows to be a serious need—namely, that we as a nation need to improve the care and education of young children by elevating the status of child care and preschools. We need more teachers of young children, better-educated teachers, and—most critically—better-paid and -respected teachers. Take a look at Zero to Three, whether you subscribe to the magazine or not. If you don’t, you should.

*[rant] I printed this out, and unfortunately, it seemed to use half the toner in my laser printer. Why is it that the text of this publication is only available as a “graphically-designed” PDF brochure, with lots of dark colors that don’t print well on the average library’s printer? Black type on a plain white background would be a nice option if you just want to hand a copy to people to read. Or even just read it more easily on the screen. Sigh. [/rant]

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