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 culturally and linguistically responsive environments, characterized by nurturing relationships and rich opportunities for play and exploration, lay 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 2016

In 2015, ELAA 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 2016 we are working to expand access to these opportunities by preventing a waitlist for child care subsidy, expanding access to our state pre-K program (ECEAP), ensuring that child care workers have the resources they need to improve quality, and more. See our 2016 legislative agenda

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. 

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 Jennifer Jennings-Shaffer at (206) 324.0340 x21 or jennifer(at)childrensalliance(dot)org. 

American Federation of Teachers Washington * Arc of King County * Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound * Blue Prints for Learning * Child Care Action Council * Child Care Aware * Child Care Resources * Children’s Alliance * Children’s Home Society of WA and Trust Foundation * Committee for Children * Community Network Coalition * Denise Louie Education Center * Early Learning Public Library Partnership * Economic Opportunity Institute * Edmonds School District * Educare Early Learning Center * First 5 FUNdamentals * Kirlin Charitable Foundation * League of Education Voters * League of Women Voters Washington * Lutheran Community Services Northwest * Minority Executive Directors Coalition of King County * MomsRising * Neighborhood House * Nurse Family Partnership * OneAmerica * Organization for Parenting Education Programs (OPEP) * Parent-Child Home Program * Parent Trust for Washington Children/Parents as Teachers State Office * 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 * 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 * Volunteers of America * WA Association for Infant Mental Health * WA Association for the Education of Young Children (WAEYC) * WA Chapter American Academy of Pediatrics * WA Dental Service Foundation * WA Educators in Early Learning (WEEL) * WA Federation of Independent Schools * Washington State Association of Head Start & ECEAP * WA State Community Action Partnership * Washington State Family Child Care Association * Wellspring Family Services * WithinReach * YMCA of Greater Seattle * Zeno Math