Families Forward

Northwest Arkansas is recognized as a premier job growth region, but as a community, we are also committed to ensuring that working parents are not forced to choose between providing for their families financially versus securing a safe, supportive, and inspiring environment for their young children.

Studies show that nearly 70 percent of all children under the age of five are cared for by an adult outside the home. We also know that by age five, a child’s brain reaches 90 percent of its adult capacity. In other words, this very short period of time— newborn to five years—is both formative and foundational.

Without experiencing a consistent environment of safety, security, and support—social, emotional, physical, and cognitive—children are at a distinct disadvantage. Parents know this intuitively. They want the very best for their precious little ones, but they also have a responsibility to provide for their families. This tension between two priorities can create additional stress for families: “How can we balance our need to work and our desire to ensure quality care for our children?”

At Helen R. Walton Children’s Enrichment Center, We Care

It’s not just about the 240 children who attend the Helen R. Walton Children’s Enrichment Center. It’s about the 27,000 young children in Northwest Arkansas who deserve a strong start and a bright future.

The ECIC supports early childhood programs, directors, and teachers through professional and program development. When the ECIC opened in 2009, 19 percent of centers in Northwest Arkansas were quality accredited. Today, that number has increased to 69 percent, but we still have a long way to go to ensure every child receives the best chance at a bright future.

Infant- Canadian Father with Son
Preschool Caucasian Girls in Art with Male Teacher