Comprehensive System of Early Childhood - The Alliance and our partners have identified eight components that are necessary for optimal functionality of our early childhood system. These are: 1) Better outreach to parents, 2) uniform reporting requirements, 2) uniform funding streams, 4) fully-funded slots, 5) a quality rating and improvement system, 6) workforce development and improved workforce compensation, 7) uniform standards for early learning, 8) coordinated, complete and transparent data collection.
Infants and Toddlers - It benefits everyone when families with infants and toddlers can develop strong connections, access high quality care, and have basic necessities such as diapers. This is because the most significant time of life for secure attachment and brain development is in the first 1,000 days. Yet, this time period is often ignored in the policy world. Over the last few years, preschool has been a focal point when it comes to early childhood policy. It is evident that the public and policy makers understand how a preschool experience improves a child’s readiness for kindergarten. Not surprisingly, the result on all levels – federal, state, and local - has been to create more subsidized preschool spaces. To ensure that attention is also paid to the first three years of life, the Alliance will proactively promote the importance of the infant and toddler years as well as ways that families, communities and the state can take actions to make the most of this important time in a child’s life. This effort will include education about early brain development, illumination of the gaps and deficiencies in our early care and education system when in comes to issues that impact the infant and toddler population, and promoting best practices and solutions.
Mitigating Impact of Family Poverty - Family poverty has a significant effect on child outcomes. New research shows that family poverty has a negative impact on healthy brain development. Poverty decreases the chance that a child will be able to access high-quality child care, and it reduces access to preschool. Not surprisingly, we see a direct correlation with the growing achievement gap, and in later economic outcomes. Up until 2016, the Alliance has only peripherally addressed the issue of family poverty. With child and family poverty growing along with increasing income disparity, the Alliance is poised to more directly address this issue in our education and awareness efforts.