Who We Are
The Early Learning Action Alliance is a broad coalition of organizations representing a diverse array of Washington nonprofits, professional associations, businesses, and industries. We are united by the belief that all children in Washington State deserve to have the opportunities and support they need in their first five years of life to be prepared for school and a bright future. View our members.
Why Early Learning
Children are born learning. Evidence shows that high-quality early learning in culturally and linguistically responsive environments, characterized by nurturing relationships and rich opportunities for play and exploration, lays the foundation for essential social, emotional, and cognitive skills. High-quality early learning is an essential part of any strategy to close the opportunity gap facing too many of Washington’s children in low-income families and children of color.
All children deserve the chance to succeed in life. Yet more than half of the children in Washington State enter kindergarten without the basic skills they need to thrive. Quality child care, preschool, and family care options remain out of reach for hundreds of thousands of middle- and low-income families. Too many Washington parents do not have access to high-quality, culturally and linguistically responsive care that they can afford.
Our Long-Term Priorities
We need researched, market-driven policies that will give all young children the skills they need to start school ready to succeed. These policies should support parents as their children’s first and most important teachers and provide a range of culturally relevant support services to families who need them.
A range of top quality child care, family care and preschool options must be available to all families. Professional development opportunities must be accessible to the thousands of child care professionals across the state. Together, we can help make Washington state a place where all families and young children have the opportunities they need to thrive.
Our Work in 2017
In 2015, we worked with Governor Jay Inslee and the Washington State Legislature to pass the Early Start Act, along with an historic investment, to develop Washington’s base of high-quality early learning opportunities. In 2017 we are working to:
- Expand access to high-quality prekindergarten through the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program, or ECEAP;
- Invest in the value that quality delivers in Working Connections Child Care;
- Grow and retain a highly competent early learning professional workforce;
- Support parents as their child’s first teacher;
- Raise new revenue to ensure a great start for kids.
We are also working for greater federal investment in early learning. The majority of Washington’s early learning programs are funded by federal funds. The Washington State Congressional delegation is an essential partner in this work.
When we close the opportunity gap, we’ll narrow the school achievement gap, which will result in higher employment levels later on in life. Communities that prioritize early learning see substantial social and economic returns. Smart investments in early learning yield positive returns for families and communities across Washington State.
Membership is open to any organization that agrees with our mission and guiding principles and is not a target of our advocacy at the state or federal level. For membership details, please read the Early Learning Action Alliance Charter (PDF).
The Early Learning Action Alliance is convened by the Children’s Alliance. Learn more by contacting Jennifer Jennings-Shaffer at (206) 324-0340 x21 or jennifer(at)childrensalliance(dot)org.
American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO * The Arc of King County * Archdiocese of Seattle * Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound * Blueprints for Learning * Child Care Action Council * Child Care Aware of Washington* Child Care Resources * Children’s Alliance * Children’s Home Society of Washington and Trust Foundation * Committee for Children * Community Center for Education Results * Community Network Coalition * Denise Louie Education Center * Early Learning Public Library Partnership * Economic Opportunity Institute * Edmonds School District * Educare Seattle * First 5 FUNdamentals * KinderCare Education * Kirlin Charitable Foundation * League of Education Voters * Lutheran Community Services Northwest * Minority Executive Directors Coalition of King County * MomsRising * Neighborhood House * Nurse Family Partnership * OneAmerica * Organization for Parenting Education Programs * Parent-Child Home Program * Parent Trust for Washington Children * Parents as Teachers * Partners for Our Children * Pike Market Child Care and Preschool * Puget Sound Educational Service District * Reach Out & Read Washington State * Save the Children Action Network * School’s Out Washington * SEIU Local 925 * SOAR * Social Venture Partners * Southeast Seattle Education Coalition * Stand for Children * Statewide Poverty Action Network * Tiny Trees Preschool * United Way of King County * United Way of Pierce County * United Way of Snohomish County * United Ways of Washington *Voices of Tomorrow* Volunteers of America Western Washington* Washington Association for Infant Mental Health * Washington Association for the Education of Young Children * The Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics* Washington Dental Service Foundation * Washington Educators in Early Learning * Washington Federation of Independent Schools * Washington State Alliance of Ys * Washington State Association of Head Start & ECEAP * Washington State Community Action Partnership * Washington State Family Child Care Association * Wellspring Family Services * WithinReach * YMCA of Greater Seattle * Zeno