Teachers and parents from across Massachusetts took part in the Rising Stars of Massachusetts celebration, an annual event sponsored by the Early Education for All campaign to highlight the positive impact high-quality early education has on young children and families. But the real starring role was played by pre-kindergarteners from Martha’s Vineyard Community Services Early Childhood Program.

Their artwork — brightly colored stars hand-decorated with glitter and markers — provided the backdrop for the event. Martha’s Vineyard Community Services Early Childhood Program is a recipient of the Massachusetts Universal Pre-Kindergarten Pilot Classroom Quality grant, awarded to early education providers that meet quality requirements.

“Research has shown that high-quality early education has a lifetime impact on young learners in terms of greater academic readiness, higher test scores, and improved social skills. Low-income children who participate in two years of high-quality early education programs are 40 per cent less likely to need special education or be held back a grade, 30 per cent more likely to graduate from high school, and twice as likely to go to college. The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis estimates a 16 per cent return for every dollar invested in high-quality early education.