Early Care and Education
A child's first five years are a magical period of rapid learning and growth across many areas around the whole child, including physical, cognitive, social-emotional, and language development. It is a time when young children need consistent, supportive, nurturing, and playful learning environments that are culturally and linguistically affirming and rooted in child development. Access to affordable high quality early care and education (ECE) is crucial to promoting healthy whole child development and preparing children for success in the K-12 system and in life.
The ECE system has faced chronic underinvestment rooted in a history of systemic racism, starting with the practice of forced caregiving during slavery. This has driven racial and economic disparities where too many of California’s young children–particularly children of color, many of whom are dual language learners–do not have access to high quality ECE designed to support them to thrive. Moreover, the ECE workforce that supports our youngest learners is comprised predominantly of women of color and immigrant women, many of whom are underpaid, under-supported, and impoverished.
We work with partners, and community, state, and local decision-makers to build an ECE system that maximizes the power of ECE to support California’s youngest learners to thrive. Our ECE agenda works to catalyze systemic change in overall systems that support the whole child and whole family by informing the design of quality ECE that affirms children of color and dual language learners, strengthening the mixed delivery system (ECE programs in licensed care center- and home-based settings and license-exempt care with families, friends, and neighbors (FFN) caregivers), and birth to 3rd grade systems alignment.