First 5 Orange County’s Director of Partnerships and Government Affairs Tiffany Alva was recently quoted in the Orange County Register article “Preschools are getting creative to engage the youngest of Orange County’s learners.”
Even before the pandemic, nearly half of the Orange County students going to kindergarten were not ready for it, said Tiffany Alva, the director of partnerships and government affairs at First 5 Orange County.
“If those children aren’t getting the support they need,” Alva said. “They will be behind.”
Alva said preschools – public and private – have been doing “amazing work” to adapt to the pandemic. Her organization, First 5 Orange County, has worked with nonprofits to provide funding to child care providers. The organization has also created a task force with the county’s child care council and other groups to help small businesses create a strategic plan to cope with the pandemic, she said.
Still, in Orange County at least 500 child care programs – many of which are preschools – have closed. Alva said she expects 30% to 40% of child care providers in the county will be closed by the pandemic.
Even before the pandemic, a recent report from the county’s child care council found that full-time slots were available for only 59% of preschoolers; state-subsidized slots were available only for 28% of preschoolers with eligible parents.
“As we start to look at how we reopen and build the economy back up, with the number of child care centers closed, the demand will be extremely high,” Alva said. “It looks like it’s going to be a struggle when we reopen our economy.”