NLC’s Early Learning Nation Expands

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The network of cities across the country that are taking decisive action to prioritize programs and policies that improve outcomes for young children is expanding.

The National League of Cities (NLC) Institute for Youth, Education and Families (YEF Institute) selected eight cities as part of a new cohort of NLC’s technical assistance initiative, City Leadership for Building an Early Learning Nation. This initiative is This initiative is generously supported by the Bezos Family Foundation and is part of the Bezos Family Foundation’s vision to foster an Early Learning Nation and ensure all children have the best possible start in life. This cohort builds on previous work within the YEF Institute to strengthen and build local early learning systems.

The eight selected cities include:

  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Sacramento, California
  • New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Waterbury, Connecticut
  • Walla Walla, Washington
  • San Pablo, California
  • Brownsville, Tennessee
  • Hopewell, Virginia.

These cities were chosen for their community-wide commitment to prioritizing early learning and the well-being of children and their history of work focused on families and children. They will use NLC’s Early Learning Communities Action Guide and Progress Rating Tool to assess their progress and develop action plans to move forward. They will receive in-person and virtual opportunities for learning from peer cities and national experts.

This technical assistance will help cities:

  • Deepen existing partnerships and build new partnerships;
  • Incorporate early learning in to existing city-wide plans;
  • Cultivate new local champions for early learning;
  • Promote parent engagement;
  • Increase enrollment in high-quality early education experiences; and
  • Communicate the importance of high-quality early education to diverse audiences.

The YEF Institute will also work with a cohort of six cities in Nebraska through the Nebraska Foundation for Children and Families. These cities include Grand Island, Gothenburg, Norfolk, Red Cloud, Schuyler, and Wood River.

NLC knows that cities are centers of innovation in leading the way nationally to put young children at the center of policy and programmatic agendas. With the work of these eight new cities, we are moving one step closer to achieving the vision of a nation where all cities, towns and villages are places where children reach their full potential, where families feel supported and can live safe, healthy lives.

Alana Eichner small.jpgAbout the author: 
Alana Eichner was the Early Childhood Senior Associate in NLC’s Institute for Youth, Education, and Families.