The earliest years of life are critical to a child’s development. High-quality education and development for children from birth to age five not only promotes physical and social-emotional health and a strong foundation for success in school and life, it also helps build strong local economies and thriving communities.
Communities across the country are investing in early childhood programs and working to build comprehensive systems that address all aspects of a child’s development, and the role of the family in early learning and school readiness.
To support these efforts, the NLC Institute for Youth, Education, and Families has selected seven cities to participate in City Leadership for Building an Early Learning Nation, a technical assistance initiative designed to help communities strengthen or build early childhood education systems and provide national visibility to the early childhood work being done in these communities. The seven selected cities include:
- Dayton, Ohio
- Jacksonville, Fla.
- Kansas City, Mo.
- Minneapolis, Minn.
- Pittsburgh, Pa.
- Portland, Maine
- San Francisco, Calif.
As a part of this project, NLC is partnering with the Center for the Study of Social Policy’s Early Childhood-LINC (Learning and Innovation Network for Communities) to connect strong leaders who are committed to helping young children get the best possible start in life. In addition to the seven cities NLC will be working with, Early Childhood-LINC has an existing, robust network of nine communities in place.
Each city will receive assistance in:
- Building partnerships,
- Promoting parent engagement,
- Increasing enrollment in high-quality early education, and
- Communicating the importance of high-quality early education to diverse audiences.
The technical assistance provided by NLC and Early Childhood-LINC will develop or enhance local early learning systems to ensure they are based on best practices and meet the needs of local families. NLC will emphasize creative approaches to stimulate local innovation based on up-to-date research and promising practices. Communities will also receive assistance with developing/implementing local plans and support in developing new or sharing existing metrics meant to help local governments evaluate their early learning systems.
This project is made possible by generous support from the Bezos Family Foundation, which is working to make the U.S. an Early Learning Nation.
About the Author: Katie Whitehouse is the Senior Associate for Early Education in the NLC Institute for Youth, Education, and Families. Follow Katie on Twitter at @KatieLianeTX.