“What the best and wisest parent wants for his own child, that must be what the community wants for all its children.”
John Dewey (1859-1952)
American Educator, Philosopher and Psychologist
We have over 30 years of in-depth scientific research which tells us that investing in the well-being of young children has an enormous impact on their life trajectory-will they be successful or not? The fact that we know these things and continue to do ‘almost nothing’ to support young children and their families is a sad testament to our society.
Did you know that in a 2013 UNICEF report on child well-being across 30 developed nations, the US ranked # 26? The only countries below the US are Lithuania, Latvia and Romania. Countries ranking above the US include: Slovenia, Hungary, Estonia, Slovakia and Greece. The Netherlands and the Scandinavian countries topped the list.
I am certain that the vast majority of Americans, including those of us who live in Boulder County, are unaware of this unimaginable fact. What can we do to impact this?
The answer has been known for years: Invest in the lives of young children early and often. But this is not an easy task by any means!
According to John Kania (Stanford University Innovation Review 2011): “…large scale social change comes from better cross-sector coordination rather than from the isolated intervention of individual organizations.” To that end, ECCBC has brought together over 35 child and family-serving agencies across Boulder County to work together on a common set of goals to positively impact the kindergarten readiness of our youngest children. Those goals include:
READY CHILD: Children arrive ready for school: healthy, well-adjusted and having been exposed to the fundamentals of learning
READY FAMILIES: Families are empowered to nurture their children’s healthy growth and development as their children’s first and best teachers. Families have access to programs and services to support their children’s development and can advocate effectively for their children
READY EARLY CARE AND EDUCATION: Early Childhood professionals have the knowledge, skills and support to work effectively with and on behalf of families and children
READY COMMUNITY: The community recognizes the importance of early childhood as integral to the quality of life in Boulder County and as a critical part of the continuum of social equity. The community implements policies that support all families with young children throughout the county.
Our work is guided by the following principles:
- Comprehensive and inclusive in its design to meet the needs of all children and families.
- Family and child-centered in a way that values the uniqueness of each child and each family, builds on family strengths and is responsive to unique needs.
- Focused on prevention through promotion of physical, social-emotional, cognitive and language development of children; and early identification and intervention services for children with special health care needs, mental health concerns, disabilities, or developmental delays.
- Affordable, accessible and available to ensure that parents have choices in utilizing high quality, culturally competent services for their children.
- Coordinated and integrated to promote seamless and flexible service delivery, prevent gaps and duplication, maximize resources and leverage the strengths of the existing system.
- Accountable to the community and funders through monitoring of outcomes and indicators and a commitment to continuous quality improvement.
- Sustainable through stable funding mechanisms, governance and infrastructure for services.
ECCBC Role in the Community:
Per House Bill 07-1062 (see corporate documents), “…there is hereby established a statewide integrated system of early childhood councils to improve and sustain the availability, accessibility, capacity, and quality of early childhood services for children and families.” In order to fulfill this legislative mandate, ECCBC employs the following strategies:
- Acts as the county wide convener (i.e. the backbone organization) for the Boulder County Early Childhood Collective Impact Collaboration to ensure coordinated and effective efforts to positively impact school readiness for young children in Boulder County
- Develops funding strategies to bring additional resources into Boulder County to support early childhood programs and services
- Impacts policy at the local and state level by providing expert testimony and consultation to policy-makers
- Builds public awareness of the importance of the first 5 years of life though community presentations, newspaper articles, Facebook and blogs
- Promotes accountability of our efforts to positively impact school readiness by publishing the ECCBC Indicators Report.
- Works to improve the quality of licensed early care and education venues, including centers, family childcare homes and preschools
Executive Director, The Early Childhood Council of Boulder County