Have a Heart for Kids Day rally, 2015

Early Learning Action Alliance


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.

The Problem

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 2018

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 expanded access to high-quality prekindergarten through the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program, or ECEAP, and ensured a continued high priority to early learning within the new Department of Children, Youth and Families. In 2018 we call on state lawmakers to:

Read our complete 2018 legislative agenda (PDF).

We are also working to protect federal investments in early learning. The majority of Washington’s early learning programs are funded by federal dollars. The Washington State Congressional delegation is an essential partner in this work. 

Who Benefits

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 April Messenger at (206) 324-0340 or april(dot)messenger(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 * Centralia College * 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  * Eastern Washington Childcare Centers Association * Economic Opportunity Institute * Edmonds School District Educare Early Learning Center * First 5 FUNdamentals * KinderCare Education  * League of Education Voters * Lutheran Community Services Northwest MomsRising * Neighborhood House * Nurse Family Partnership * OneAmerica * Organization for Parenting Education Programs * Parent-Child Home Program * Parent Trust for Washington Children  * Partners for Our Children * Pike Market Child Care and Preschool * Puget Sound Educational Service District * Reach Out & Read Washington State * Save the Children *  Save the Children Action Network * School’s Out Washington * SEIU Local 925 * SOAR * Social Venture Partners * Sound Child Care Solutions * 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 TomorrowVolunteers of America Western WashingtonWashington Association for Infant Mental Health The Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics * Washington Childcare Centers AssociationWashington Dental Service Foundation * Washington Educators in Early Learning Washington Federation of Independent Schools * Washington State Alliance of YMCA’sWashington State Association of Head Start & ECEAP * Washington State Community Action Partnership * Washington State Budget & Policy Center * Washington State Family Child Care Association * Washington STEM * Wellspring Family Services * WithinReach * YMCA of Greater SeattleZeno