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Early Childhood Learning

Providing early childhood learning access to all underserved 3- and 4- year old children by 2030

Early Learning: Our Keiki Deserve Better

Early childhood learning is vital to the healthy development of all children, yet 54 percent of 3- and 4-year-olds in Hawaiʻi — approximately 20,000 keiki — are not enrolled in nursery school, preschool or kindergarten.

At the 2019 Hawaiʻi Executive Conference, Early Education CHANGE committee co-chairs Jack Wong and Terry George shared that despite efforts being made to increase the availability of affordable preschools, at the current pace, it will take 47 years to ensure all of Hawaiʻi’s children have access to early childhood learning. This is unacceptable. Change must happen sooner.

The benefits of early childhood learning are multifaceted and are a key driver for helping to lift Hawaiʻi’s ALICE families. Studies show that receiving high-quality early childhood education changes lives and leads to both personal development and academic and career success. In addition, providing access to free and/or affordable early learning opportunities will allow Hawaiʻi’s struggling families the ability to provide critical early learning to their keiki without having to choose between other basic needs such as housing or food.

A Show of Unity & Collaboration

In an unprecedented show of unity, Governor David Ige, State Senate, State House of Representatives, and dozens of community, business and labor organizations have come together in 2020 by introducing a comprehensive joint package of bills that aim to remove economic barriers and improve the lives of Hawaiʻi’s working families. The package includes wages and tax benefits, affordable housing, and early learning opportunities for our 3- and 4- year old keiki.

This 2020 Cost of Living Initiative includes legal and policy changes at the Hawaii State Legislature and are the first and essential step to creating a Hawaii where every family has the opportunity to thrive. For more information on the package of bills, visit: