Early Childhood Learning@100%
Early Childhood Learning@100% means all our young children benefit from empowering programs.
Early Childhood Learning
Early Childhood Learning@100% means all our young children benefit from empowering programs.
Inside The Center
Here’s a quick overview of what you will find below.
What Families Face
Short stories from families facing challenges, illustrating the need to address barriers to vital services.
10 Innovations Await
The sidebar menu takes you to ten innovations areas, each one providing projects action team members are implementing to remove barriers to services.
The Root Causes
We provide an overview of why families struggle to access vital services in what we might call “normal times” and in times of public health or economic crisis.
A Pandemic’s Impact on services
A brief review of how the pandemic impacts each county across the state.
Where on Earth
How solutions exist today.
The Center’s Mission
Early Childhood Learning for 100%
Welcome to the Center for Early Childhood @100%, the nation’s first center to provide county and city stakeholders with research, data-driven strategies, insights and support to end early childhood learning program disparities on a countywide scale, ensuring all residents can access quality early childhood learning programs when they need it. Early childhood learning program disparities, lack of timely access to the array of affordable early childhood learning programs, has been with us for as long as we have started inventing the services and programs to empower young children on the planet. In the last few decades societies of all sizes have found ways to provide accessible early childhood learning program to all residents needing it.
In modern societies the cause of early childhood learning program disparities can often be tracked down to lack of investment in the human capital and resources to secure the right amount of affordable support programs and providers. In the USA, a country with vast amounts of wealth and resources, we have all the technology and know how to make the lack of early childhood learning disparities history.
One quick online search will overwhelm you with solutions to the disparities problem. Google shows you how many visitors are searching for answers — interested in understanding the root causes of disparities and how to solve it.
When we begin to “Google it” for results:
Best early childhood education in the world: 349,000,000
How to create an early childhood learning center: 1,320,000,000
What are the benefits of early childhood education: 251,000,000
How can early childhood learning educators be supported: 271,000,000
How can a city fund early childhood education: 437,000,000
“Early childhood learning program disparities are a man-made problem, not an act of nature, requiring human ingenuity to solve.”
— From the book Early Childhood Learning@100%: How we ensure all county residents can access to early childhood learning programs
Within an internet full of valuable research, inspiring insights and distracting clutter, solutions await you here in the Center for Early Childhood Learning@100%. Your introduction to the issues here in the “Center’s Main Hall” guides you to what we call our ten “Innovation Areas” where action team projects await your review and engagement.
What the Center for Early Childhood Learning@100% provides you with are the strategies to ensure, county by county, that systems of early childhood learning are working effectively to serve all residents. We live in a time of vast knowledge regarding innovations in face-to-face and online early childhood learning, where the only reason for a family going without easy access to early childhood learning programs in your locality is manmade. The human ingenuity you discover here can ensure that 100% survive and thrive.
Early childhood education has the capacity to empower us at a very young age. We have millions of people reading thousands upon thousands of articles and books on how the first three months of an infant’s life is pivotal. Other research focuses on the first three years that shape us. We know that each day matters move through the stages of newborn to infant to child to youth. We are developing and learning minute by minute, ideally guided by caring adults in the home. It should go without saying that early childhood learning programs can have a significant role in identifying, preventing and treating adverse childhood experiences and trauma.
In the Center for Early Childhood Learning@100% we address a very complicated system with numerous challenges. We also provide an overview of early childhood learning programs to demonstrate the challenges are solvable. Get ready to be overwhelmed, also inspired. We will guide you through all the steps to put ideas into action.
As a society, we claim to treasure each child, yet our rates of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), trauma and maltreatment tell a very different story. In 100% Community, one service among the ten we identify as vital is accessible, local early childhood learning programs. There are places where a new set of eyes, those of childhood development workers, can be focused on a child, as well as his or her parents. It’s in this context where challenges can be identified and ideally remedied in a timely manner. Furthermore, quality early childhood education programs provide parents with an opportunity to work, knowing that their kids are in an enriching, positive environment. It’s win-win for everyone.
In the Center for Early Childhood Learning@100%, we take on a very complicated system with numerous challenges and opportunities. We provide an overview of early childhood learning program that offer solutions to the disparities challenge. Get ready to be overwhelmed, and also inspired. We will guide you through all the steps to put ideas into action.
One Child: Many Opportunities for Enrichment
Early childhood learning programs come in many forms. Our goal is to empower you and your action teams in creating a seamless system of support, enrichments and empowerment focused on the young child.
One of the best strategies we have for ensuring safe childhoods is early childhood learning programs. Staff in programs are working to make sure that the child is healthy and safe, and that the parent is fully supported and able to access key services.
Lastly, our countywide system of early childhood learning programs needs to provide a menu of empowerment/education programs that give children the best chance to be prepared for school. In our perfect world, each county would have robust centers that house a cadre of well-resourced staff with the skills to not only empower children, but to facilitate workshops on every topic relevant to child rearing, including awareness of ACEs and trauma. Ideally, all early childhood educators could also serve as navigators, helping parents connect with all the vital services that support families of all income levels and cultures.
“Can’t all parents enroll their children in early childhood learning programs?”
We have a wealth of insights, ideas and research focused on early childhood learning programs. This information can provide every city and town with the knowledge needed to create a seamless system of early childhood learning programs. These programs would provide a vital service to every parent who would benefit from it (and that, we strongly believe, would be pretty much all parents).
High quality early childhood programs should create an environment full of creativity, art, music, movement, words and sharing with others; the fundamental skills for a productive life. Early childhood education can play an important role in preparing children for school, increasing their skills in reading, math, and teamwork.
Program staff, correctly trained in ACEs and trauma-informed care and prevention, can model positive behaviors and steer kids and their families clear of unhelpful behaviors. This is a path toward success that stretches from K–12, to job training to jobs, and one day for many, their own healthy families. The institution of early childhood learning itself can be a great way for other pairs of eyes to screen out problems, support parents and prevent potential family challenges.
Innovations focus on ensuring access to quality programs for all parents seeking a place for their children, and technology plays a role in client data collection and education for kids, parents and staff.
In the Center for Early Childhood Learning@100% we take on a very complicated system that involves community, city and county planning with numerous challenges and opportunities. Get ready to be overwhelmed and also inspired. We will guide you through all the steps to put these ideas for increasing access to services into action.
What Families Face
*These are fictionalized profiles based on real New Mexican residents.
Jen and Marie's Story
It’s Time For Heroic Acts
You are about to review approximately 20 projects within ten innovation areas that can, if done successfully, improve the quality and accessibility of current services. The long-term goal of these innovations and projects is to ensure that 100% of county residents have access to this vital service. Your task is to review all projects, individually and as part of an action team, to identify which one you wish to implement. In the time it takes to enjoy a latte, you can give our menu of innovations a quick read, starting with Innovation #1: Tracking Supply and Demand and ending with Innovation #10: Developing the City Dept. of Early Childhood Learning. These include projects initiated by action teams focused on a county and all the communities within its borders.
Early childhood learning program disparities exist
Lack of early childhood learning is impacting our most vulnerable children and families with consequences that may include adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), trauma and lack of a parent’s capacity to access vital services.
Why No Programs?
Early Childhood Learning Program Disparities Face Our Families
EARLY CHILDHOOD LEARNING PROGRAMS HAVE EVERYTHING to do with our quality of child enrichment, family life and child rearing. If parents can access timely, affordable early childhood learning programs, young children are better prepared to learn and socialize in school, families function better and children are healthier. If our access to early childhood learning programs are threatened, our children and families can be in serious trouble.
In a world of colliding crises, change and uncertainty, we require a robust early childhood learning program system in every community. The key word is system, because scattered and disconnected public and private agencies, or individuals who offer various forms of early childhood learning supports, simply won’t get the job done. We must move beyond isolated programs to a well-connected and networked system of support.
Every county has residents experiencing lack of early childhood learning programs and some have segments of the population reporting extreme difficulty accessing these vital services. In times of crisis like a pandemic, access to stable programs becomes even more critical.
In the Center for Early Childhood Learning@100% we seek to get to real-world solutions. We will guide you through all the steps needed to put ideas for addressing early childhood learning disparities into action.
Why should accessing programs be a challenge?
We asked what gets in the way of engaging with early childhood learning programming. The list is important to review and discuss. Some attitudes about such programs, mostly on the less-than-supportive side, include:
- We expect parents to understand how to be early childhood educators
- We expect parents to have the capacity to be full time educators
- We expect parents to fix themselves if their young children face challenges with learning
- We think if parents need help they should just pay for it
- We think that if a single teen has a baby, then she made a bad choice and has to live with without support
- Some think that it’s not the job of government to help struggling parents with early childhood learning programs
- Some think the consequences of ACEs are unfortunate, and even thought early childhood learning programs can help reduce ACEs, its a personal family problem
Why can’t parents connect with parent support programs?
We have learned from our survey of parents why challenges might exist. Here are a few.
- Lack of knowing what is available and the benefits of parent supports: Some parents are not aware of the variety of programs available and how they can enrich a family.
- Inability to access: The people who need it most are often unable to pay for it, or lack the wherewithal to fill out the paperwork.
- Stigma: Some people think that good parents don’t need help even though every parent can benefit from support. A stigma may keep parents from reaching out for help.
- Lack of providers: In some areas, there are chronic shortages of parent support programs.
Meeting many needs
As for why early childhood learning programs are needed, the answers are easy to identify. In addition to meeting the goal of enriching young children, programs have an additional benefit to parents and society. We know that without support, some parents may struggle and then adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) can occur. We know from child welfare data that most parents engaged with child protective services will be struggling with one or more of the following challenges: substance misuse, domestic violence and mental health challenges. Most parents have difficulty accessing help. Sometimes services don’t exist. Other times, parents are not aware of them or how to access them. To prevent adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and family trauma, each community will benefit greatly from having early childhood learning programs. This means an extra set of eyes on our young children to assess for any challenges. It also means more support for parents when times are difficult. To learn more about the impact of ACEs on young children and parents, we recommend you read Anna, Age Eight: The data-driven prevention of childhood trauma and maltreatment.
Fast forward to your reality today: With data from the 100% New Mexico Survey and other sources, you have a good idea about where the need for early childhood learning programs may exist in your county, and that’s why it’s difficult to access for both parents and all caregivers. While global, national and state data on early childhood learning programs are very interesting and instructive, the real data that informs your work are generated by your 100% New Mexico initiative work diving deep into local neighborhoods. That said, you may be surprised by your survey results and learn that a challenge is far bigger or smaller or more localized than you originally thought.
But wait, google says there are answers!
With literally millions of people reading articles on ending early childhood learning program disparities and thousands of foundations, governmental and non-governmental organizations focusing for decades on supporting early childhood learning programs, why is access to affordable early childhood learning still so prevalent across fifty states? Why might a single mom, showing signs of trauma, not be aware of local early childhood learning programs that can empower her child and support her in accessing local services? Why might a parent with involvement with child protective services not automatically be linked to quality early childhood learning programs? Why do parents working full time not have enough money for early childhood learning programs? Why do cities that do offer early childhood learning programs somehow miss designing bus routes that take parents and kids to such vital services? In a pandemic, can we afford to have any parent without a way to access early childhood learning programs that empower children (and allow a parent to work while their child is in a safe environment)?
We don’t mean to question our good-hearted leaders in political, academic and philanthropic circles, but there appears to be a complete disconnect between those who claim to have answers and the actual implementation of solutions to ensure 100% of our residents are able to access early childhood learning programs? What are our morals, ethics and values that allow lack of programs shown to empower young children, strengthen families and keep children safe from ACEs to exist amid so much abundance?
What kind of society would allow a policy of benign neglect to doom entire zip codes to lack of early childhood learning? Why should our most vulnerable parents ever endure anxiety about raising a child without help from early childhood experts? If we ever needed a public and private sector solution to early childhood learning disparities, this is the moment.
Truly, why are we all not asking in loud public forums, “What is the root cause of early childhood learning program disparities impacting our urban and rural communities in the US?”
Early childhood learning programs are what we call a “thriving service” (alongside our services for survival). In our 100% New Mexico initiative, we focus on ensuring early childhood learning programs across a county, serving all the communities within its borders. Simply put, problems related to early childhood learning program disparities can generally stand in the way of a safe childhood and high functioning, self-sufficient family.
Our best bet for addressing a host of challenges related to early childhood learning program disparities is ensuring easy access to a quality, comprehensive programs at an affordable price or with subsidies for our most vulnerable residents.
What We Know
Our county survey will tell you why families may struggle to access early childhood learning programs. Reasons include lack of programs, cost, no transport to programs, unaware of programs and unfriendly hours.
Who Lacks Access?
Early Childhood Learning Program Disparities Have Many Causes
With all the research we have on the power of early childhood learning, and state-of-the-art technology delivering empowering and educational media streaming into homes and mobiles, it seems inconceivable that parents in our country should suffer from lack of affordable early childhood learning programs.
In fact, the reality on the ground has been, up to now, difficult to gauge when it comes to specifically measuring early childhood learning program disparities in communities. Are lots of young children lacking basic skills when arriving to school due to lack of early childhood learning programs? This is an important question, but the real question is, “What do early childhood learning program disparities look like?” A mom with a young child waiting at a bus stop may not conjure up images of early childhood learning program disparities. However, we don’t know how far the mom must travel to get to get her child to a program. We don’t know what her home environment is like and if it’s set up to empower a child with educational experiences. We don’t know if the mom has to spend hours to get to a program on the bus before she gets herself to work. We don’t know if that mom was just laid off and is trying to find a new way to pay the bills, including car repairs. We don’t know what special needs the child has?
What percentage of people lacking access to early childhood learning is acceptable to you and your elected leaders? How does a pandemic impact the question of how difficult access to affordable early childhood learning may be in both rural and urban communities? Would you be okay being told wait times for accessing early child learning programs is months or you just don’t qualify? Should any parent, anywhere in your county, face barriers to vital early childhood learning programs?
We ask: what are the root causes of Early Childhood Learning Program Disparities?
“Can’t people just get pay for the services?”
You might be asking, “Lots of parents pay for the support they seek, what can’t others?” Lots of reasons.
- Financial catastrophe: People lose their jobs for a variety of reasons all the time, often due to circumstances outside of their control. A sudden illness, either physical or mental, can also catastrophically knock out an income stream, forcing hard choices at the end of the month.
- Relationship catastrophe: Breakups and divorce throw entire families into an unstable situation, especially if one partner was dependent on the other’s income.
- Low wages: Employers don’t have to pay wages that would allow a full time worker to afford early childhood learning programs throughout the month. Unexpected bills or taxes often mean there’s no money at the end of some months for early childhood learning programs.
- Job availability: There are not enough well-paying jobs for everyone who wants one, hence no money for early childhood learning programs.
- Chronic mental health issues: Folks with mental health challenges can’t always hold down full time jobs in order to pay for early childhood learning programs and may require specialized child learning programs that are too expensive.
- Teens in insecure situations: Teen parents having to leave unsafe home environments often find themselves without the resources to be self-sufficient and access early childhood learning programs.
The list of why services can’t be accessed can be a complicated one, depending on one’s income and other factors.
- Parents don’t have enough money: High-quality early childhood learning programs might be too expensive for some household incomes. Having access is often a matter of sufficient funds in your bank account.
- Programs don’t have enough slots: High-quality early childhood learning centers often have long waiting lists. Some communities struggle with having enough child learning programs for working parents.
- Lack of workforce: Early childhood educators are often paid less than K–12 teachers. Turnover rates are typically high and teachers often move from center to center.
- Location of centers can be an issue: In some cities and some rural areas parents have to drive quite far, often not on their way to work, to drop off and pick up their children at learning centers.
- Lack of ownership: Some think that it’s not the job of government to help struggling parents with any services, including access to early childhood development programs.
Data Guide Us
Fast forward to your reality today: With data from the 100% New Mexico Survey and other sources, you have a good idea about where the need for early childhood learning programs may exist in your county and that’s why it’s difficult to access for both parents and caregivers. While global, national and state data on early childhood learning programs are very interesting and instructive, the real data that informs your work are generated by your 100% New Mexico initiative work diving deep into local neighborhoods. That said, you may be surprised by your survey results and learn that a challenge is far bigger or smaller or more localized than you originally thought.
Ensuring Services: A Local Challenge
People face different levels of hardship and risk during a pandemic directly related to their level of access to the 10 vital services for surviving and thriving. Inaccessible medical care, a lack of housing and food programs, and greatly increased joblessness during the associated economic downturn take a tremendous toll on families. It doesn’t have to be this way.
A Pandemic’s Impact on Services
Vital Questions Require Answers
In so-called “normal” times before the COVID-19 pandemic, health disparities were a fixture of our society. The pandemic has only increased the stresses on the health care systems as well as created more urgency for people to have timely access to prevention and treatment. The most pressing questions for your city, county and state elected leaders and stakeholders include:
- How do we collect, analyze and publish the most timely data to guide prevention strategies?
- How do we ensure enough COVID-19 tests and testing sites?
- How do we ensure providers have the protective equipment required to be safe?
- How do we ensure enough contact tracing?
- How do we prevent homelessness and hunger if people in lock down or quarantine lose their job?
- How do we strengthen mask-wearing and social distancing?
- How do we ensure treatment, both hospital beds and providers?
- How do we distribute the vaccine with buy-in from the public?
- How do we address depression and trauma by ensuring access to behavioral health care?
- How are vital family services for surviving and thriving made accessible to 100% of residents?
As you can see, question #10 places access to ten vital services into a comprehensive state and local strategy to prevent the pandemic. The 100% New Mexico initiative’s framework for ending barriers to services is vital and our work is urgently needed in each county. New Mexico State Senator Bill Soules, PhD, wrote in his Op-ed in the Las Cruces Sun News, “100% New Mexico: A model for COVID-19 Prevention and Treatment”:
“…an effective response to the pandemic goes beyond the medical sector. The countywide response required ten accessible services, allowing families to keep stabilized, supported, fed and housed, in order to comply with the state’s public health guidelines and to endure quarantining, isolating, social distancing and mask-wearing.”
We can happily report that many localities across the nation and globe have successfully early childhood learning program disparities by ensuring robust programs which may include a combination of public and private sector solutions.
Where on earth?
Where has this challenge been fixed?
Early Childhood Learning@100% is looking at tested early childhood learning program solutions, focused on innovations, projects, policies and programs implemented in large and small cities around the world.
If you have come this far, you know that ending early childhood learning program disparities in your community starts with knowing the magnitude of the problem, where precise activities that indicate challenges (high rates of community substance misuse, domestic violence, child maltreatment, unemployment) are experienced and why parents can’t access affordable early childhood learning programs in safe neighborhoods to address the problems.
We present a challenge to you, your local business people and government leaders: create a seamless countywide system of early childhood learning programs to make disparities history so every parent gets the timely services they need so that their child can thrive.
As you will see below, we have offered only a sliver of what’s out there in terms of innovations that have been shown to reduce early childhood learning program disparities and to empower parents to find a path to secure programs for their young child. Some models have been with us for decades and are tried, true and evaluated strategies. Some are quite new and merit experimentation and their own evaluation. We do not lack solutions, just the political will to implement them.
Three important frameworks
As we say in 100% Community, we want to reference the data-driven framework called Continuous Quality Improvement and its four phases: assessment, planning, action and evaluation (100% Community, Chapter 29). This four-step process will guide your development of innovations in the arena of early childhood learning programs. And, as a reminder, you will want to use Collective Impact (100% Community, Chapter 31) to organize your project and Adaptive Leadership (100% Community, Chapter 30) to determine if the particular challenge you seek to solve is technical, with established protocols for moving forward, or adaptive, where you are entering new uncharted territory without a clear path.
Designing a Countywide System
The past: How did we get to this point of needing family-friendly early childhood learning programs? Who exactly needs services to be “family-friendly” anyway? What are the problems the system is supposed to solve? Why don’t people just figure out the systems on their own? Can’t everyone access transportation to early childhood learning program in a timely manner?
The present (action agenda): Within this subject, we’ve identified ten strategies — called innovation areas — that can be used to tackle the affordable early childhood learning program access problem. Within those we suggest about twenty 100% New Mexico initiative projects that you (yes, you) can take on, thus propelling your community towards accessible parent supports in its many forms.
The future (goals): With enough work on these innovations/projects, we’ll get to the point where Innovation #10 — the creation of a City/County Department of Early Childhood Learning — becomes a reality. With a state-of-the-art system of parent supports in place, 100% of our county’s families could report excellent support and service.
Since we are currently in the present creating the future, your commitment to innovation is most eagerly sought and needed.
Partnerships and teamwork
At the heart of innovation are change agents implementing data-driven projects shown to fix barriers to services.
10 INNOVATIONS TO EXPLORE
CHANGE AGENTS NEEDED NOW
The following innovations represent strategies that have the capacity to increase access to affordable early childhood learning programs to ensure our families are able to get to vital programs in order for their child to be empowered, healthy, safe and successful.
As you will see as you explore Innovations #1–#10, a countywide system of early childhood learning programs engages all stakeholders within the county’s borders that include data specialists, the private sector, technology experts, public awareness specialists, public and private early childhood learning agencies,, city mayors, council members and county commissioners. Your work will be groundbreaking as it unites leaders in all sectors to achieve one goal: Early Childhood Learning for 100%.