Coalition adds advocate for early childhood learning

Christine Waters. Photo courtesy of Ivy Tech Community College

Bartholomew County has its first person focusing on the community’s early learning system full-time. Christine Waters has been chosen to lead the Bartholomew County Early Learning Coalition.

Waters previously worked at Mt. Hood Community College in Portland, Oregon, where she co-designed and implemented a county-wide universal preschool system. She also managing early childhood coaching programs, a local childcare subsidy program, Oregon’s first infant/toddler contracted slot pilot program, and a regional grant piloting early childhood shared business services.

Waters will be the early learning coordinator for Bartholomew County, a new position in the community. She will be a full-time employee of Ivy Tech Community College, working on loan to the Community Education Coalition. At Ivy Tech, Waters will work within the College’s School of Arts, Sciences, and Education and the Early Childhood Education program.

Funding for the position is through grants from Heritage Fund: The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County, Heritage Fund’s Women’s Giving Circle, Bartholomew County United Way and the Community Education Coalition.

The Coalition’s goal for the new position is to ensure all families have access to affordable, high-quality childcare and early learning programs for children up to 5 years old.

Kathy Oren, executive director for the Community Education Coalition, said that 90% of brain development happens before the age of 5. Because of that, she said there’s no topic more important than the care and education of our littlest ones.