The Woodward News

Local News

June 14, 2013

Meeting focuses on early childhood development



In addition to supporting programs specifically aimed at reaching and teaching young children, there are other ways that business and community members can help support early childhood development.

Liles offered some examples from her own previous experience as a business manager of what companies can do to create and support a "family-friendly environment," which in turn supports childhood development by allowing parents to have the time they need to be there for their children.

While she now works at HPTC, Liles was the branch manager of the old Mutual of Omaha office in Woodward for over 20 years until the office was closed in 2012.

She said when she first started working there it was "a very structured work environment."  But then the company began implementing different policies and practices that gave employees more flexibility, she said, which was ultimately beneficial to the company as well as the employees.

So based on the change she saw in Mutual of Omaha upon implementing those policies, Liles said she would recommend other businesses do the same.

Her recommendations included "engage employees in conversation about scheduling;" consider use of flex time; establish cross training of duties; offer work from home capabilities; and give employees personal time.

All of these offer employees ways to spend time with their children, she said, whether it's using flex time to allow a parent to leave a little early to make it to a child's school recital or allowing an employee to work from home so they can take care of a sick child but still accomplish their tasks and still earn money to support their family.

The impact that these simple measures can have on a business can be "tremendous," Liles said.

"Your employees are the face and voice of your business and they can have a greater impact on your clients and your customers than anything else you can do," she said.

So by investing in those employees, she said it will encourage those employees to invest back into the company.

"Employees will have a lot of buy-in to the company," Liles said.

Beyond adopting family-friendly policies within a business, Fisher said some other recommendations for how to support early childhood development include "spread the word, make the economic case, take a stand."

This means hosting events like Thursday's summit to share ideas on how to support local families, educating others about how investing in children can have a big economic pay off once they become skilled and educated workers, and being willing to talk to legislators about the importance of supporting programs that invest in young children.

Rep. Blackwell discussed the importance of these last 2 actions.

"When you're dealing with legislators, we don't always know what's going on," Blackwell said.  "A lot of times we see dollars and we see figures but we don't know what they represent."

For example, he said some legislators might consider cutting the funding to a program like Smart Start Oklahoma, if they didn't understand that program seeks to make sure families are connected with the resources they need to foster school readiness in their young children.

And since legislators often focus on dollars, Blackwell said making the economic argument can often mean the difference between whether a program is funded or not.

"If I'm looking at a budget of $500 million for the Department of Corrections, and you tell me I can cut that in half in a few years if I invest $25 million in Smart Start Oklahoma now, then I'm more likely to make that vote," he said.

Text Only
Local News
  • Area woman recovering from West Nile

    It wasn’t too many years ago when West Nile Virus was a scary word everyone hoped never happened to them and most of the time, that was true.

    July 27, 2014

  • Dedication set for art pieces

    Woodward’s collection of public art pieces will grow by two this week.

    July 27, 2014

  • ‘Support YOUR Cause Tour’ making stop in Woodward

    A musician is looking to raise $5,000 at an upcoming local concert.
    But Scott Helmer isn't raising the money for himself.  He is hoping to collect money to help support the Woodward Arts Theatre.

    July 26, 2014

  • Experts offer important tips on grilling

    When Roy Lenz prepares his grill for one of his famous steak nights at the Brandin’ Iron in Laverne, he does so with meticulous care and cleanliness, almost to the point of being compulsive.

    July 26, 2014

  • Light agenda set for county

    County commissioners will see a light agenda for their final meeting in July on Monday.

    July 26, 2014

  • State board votes again to delay education plan

    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma's State Board of Education voted on Wednesday for a second time to delay a formal plan for adopting new education standards in math and English amid opposition to the proposal from three education groups that represent public school boards and administrators across Oklahoma.

    July 24, 2014

  • Winners of Cudd Legacy award named

    Three veterans of the oil industry will receive this year's Bobby Joe Cudd Legacy Award during the Tri-State Oil and Gas Convention on Aug. 7 at the Woodward Conference Center.

    July 24, 2014

  • Benefit gun raffles underway

    Woodward Reserve police officers and other Woodward full time officers have come together to support one of their own.

    July 24, 2014

  • Tulsa man looking for military friend

    There are times in everyone's life when you think back and wonder whatever happened to those old friends from your past.

    July 23, 2014

  • Zoning change approved by commission

    Monday night Woodward city commissioners unanimously approved a zoning change that was contested by one local man who was protesting because he wants the neighborhood to continue its residential growth.

    July 23, 2014