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 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:
- Ensure continued access to affordable, high-quality child care;
- Continue to improve access to high-quality prekindergarten;
- Invest in home visiting and affordable child care for parents pursuing a college degree;
- Raise new revenue to ensure a great start for kids.
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.
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.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * Community Network Coalition * * Eastern Washington Childcare Centers Association * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *