It has been five years since the development of the Washington Early Learning Partnership’s 10-year early learning plan.
As the sixth year of this plan’s implementation approaches, the Washington Early Learning Partnership took the opportunity to acknowledge what has been achieved so far and look to the future state of early learning in Washington with the publication of this midway report: Celebrating the First 5 Years.
The following are highlights from the report. They showcase accomplishments that have bettered the state of early learning in Washington:
- We developed a Racial Equity Theory of Change that has given us strategies and a stronger determination to eliminate the opportunity gap. This gap can be seen before a child’s first birthday and disproportionately impedes the healthy growth and development of children of color and children from low-income families.
- We created the Home Visiting Services Account, which now combines state, federal and private dollars to serve more than 2,100 families living in some of our state’s most vulnerable communities. It includes a new partnership with the state Department of Social and Health Services to provide high-quality home visiting to families in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.
- We won a $60 million federal Race to the Top – Early LearningChallenge Grant to establish and grow Early Achievers, our state’s system for supporting the highest-quality licensed child care and helping families make better informed choices about child care. The state’s new Early Start Act and historic state investment in early learning now sustain Early Achievers.
- Our 10 Early Learning Regional Coalitions lift up local voices through their advocacy, closely partner with state leaders, and build their community’s capacity to reach more children and families.
- Our tribal community sought a stronger voice in early learning and created the First Peoples, First Steps Alliance.
- We support innovation and alignment between early learning professionals and K-3 educators.
- Our kindergarten readiness assessment process better ensures a child’s successful start in school by looking at the skills of the whole child and connecting the key adults in a child’s life.
- We launched the “Love. Talk. Play.” campaign to support parents of infants and toddlers as their child’s first and most important teachers.
- We redefined early learning to span from prenatal through third grade and then adopted Early Learning and Development Guidelines that support that continuum and value our state’s increasingly diverse population.
- We committed to our preschoolers and kindergartners. By fall 2016, the state will fund full-day kindergarten statewide for more than 80,000 children; by fall 2020, about 23,000 eligible 3- and 4-year-olds will be entitled to state-funded preschool.
The report provides an in-depth look at some of these accomplishments with data-driven support for highlighted strategies.
The Department of Health, the Department of Social and Health Services, Thrive Washington, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Department of Early Learning make up the Washington Early Learning Partnership. To learn more about this, go here: Washington Early Learning Partnership.