State Senator Gayle Slossberg (D-Milford) was joined by local officials, educators and advocates at Orange Avenue School in Milford on Friday to speak about the importance of early education in every child’s life.

The Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance named Slossberg one of its “Children’s Champions” in recognition of her work to pass legislation that impacts the well-being of Connecticut’s young children in the areas of healthy development, early care and education, nutrition and safety.

“Early childhood education is one of the most important investments we make as a state,” said Slossberg, Senate Chair of the Education Committee. “Children who receive a preschool education have a much better trajectory than those who haven’t. Expanding this important opportunity to all of Connecticut’s children has been a team effort, and I thank the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance for being with me every step of the way. There is still more to do, and I look forward to working alongside these incredible advocates in the coming legislative session so we can protect and expand early education opportunities around our state.”

Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance Executive Director Merrill Gay said honoring legislators is one of his favorite events of the year.

“Senator Slossberg is passionate about education and understands the importance of quality early childhood programs,” Gay said. “She's a true children's champion.”

Peggy Kelly, Director of Milford’s School Readiness Program and the Milford Family Resource Center, said, “We thank you, Gayle Slossberg for all the days, nights and hours you worked to make all the days of Connecticut’s youngest learners ‘Goldilocks Days,’ in that they are just right.”

School Supt. Dr. Elizabeth Feser had praise for Slossberg, and the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance.

“As Superintendent of the Milford Public Schools, I know we are blessed to have Senator Slossberg representing us, the needs of children come first for her,” Feser said. “I applaud the Connecticut Early childhood Alliance for choosing Senator Slossberg for its 2015 Children’s Champion award.”

Several new early childhood education laws were passed in the 2015 legislative session with Senator Slossberg’s support and have gone into effect, improving preschool education in Connecticut, state officials said.

Those include Public Act 15-134, which requires that preschool educators be fully accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, and another new law that expands eligibility for Connecticut’s school readiness program.

Also, Connecticut’s “Smart Start” program is now more effective at establishing public preschool programs, as it can offer up-front payments to create or expand the program, rather than only offering reimbursements, as was the case in the past, officials said.

The Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance is a membership and advocacy organization committed to improving outcomes in the areas of learning, health, safety and economic security, for children ages birth to eight.