Thursday, June 4, 2015

Advancing Racial Equity and Engaging Parent Involvement: ELAC

This week, the Early Learning Advisory Council met in DuPont, Washington for 2015’s fourth meeting.

The Early Learning Advisory Council (ELAC) was created by Legislature in 2007. ELAC representatives from around the state gather to provide input and recommendations to the Department of Early Learning so strategies and actions are well-informed and broadly supported by: 
  • parents,
  • child care providers,
  • health and safety experts,
  • and interested members of the public.

This month, priority initiatives for the coming school year were addressed as well as a status update of the Healthiest Next Generation initiative.

Also at this meeting, ELAC discussed advancing racial equity in early learning which is a high priority for DEL as the government organization strives to ensure every child, regardless of their social, racial or economic situation has access to quality early learning opportunities.

Members of ELAC gather in DuPont WA.
Organizers of this quarter’s meeting brought forth questions that each ELAC member should ask as they advise on DEL policies and programs:
  • Is it good for kids, families and providers?
  •  Do some kids and families benefit more than others?
  •  Which kids and families do not have access and why?
  •  What data and information is missing?
  • Might there be any unintended consequences?

DEL’s hope is that ELAC will help advise and advance programs in place that might not have been created with a racial equity lens, and also inform new programs and initiatives that will better serve every child in Washington.

One of the initiatives is the Parent Advisory Group (PAG). DEL recently began a recruitment campaign, seeking parents and family caregivers of children from birth to nine years of age to become a sounding board for decisions, ideas and questions that shape the future of early learning.
DEL has had a similar group in the past, but is attempting to bring it back as parent and caregiver input is vital to the development of effective early learning programs. 

For more information about PAG, visit DEL’s website here. If you would like more information about the application process, please contact Applications to be considered for PAG membership are due by July 15, 2015.

For more information about ELAC and past and upcoming meetings, visit DEL’s Early Learning Advisory Council page

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