Learning Starts At Birth Releases New Briefs on Transforming Early Care & Education

Research shows experiences that support long-term cognitive, social, and emotional development are crucial in children’s earliest years as infants and toddlers. In the coming months and years, potential investments in child care funded through the Build Back Better Act will present policymakers and school leaders with an important opportunity to sustainably improve program quality and build an early learning system that supports a brighter future for all.

This fall, Learning Starts At Birth at Bank Street College released two new briefs focused on ideas, recommendations, and strategies for creating transformative change in the field: Establishing Early Care & Education As a Public Good and Career Pathways and Wage Ladders: A Key Opportunity for Improving Quality.

“High-quality early learning experiences set the stage for future success in school and stronger life outcomes,” said Emily Sharrock, Associate Vice President, Bank Street Education Center. “Investing in our early care and education system supports children, their families, and society as a whole, and, with the potential for new federal investment, the time to act on this possibility is now.”

The first report titled Establishing Early Care & Education As a Public Good outlines a set of five guiding principles, including tactical policy and advocacy actions, that can move us toward investing in child care and early education as a public good.

As part of the writing process, Bank Street engaged a dozen early childhood policy and thought leaders in a discussion series to explore this vision, drawing on their insights to create the guidelines detailed in the brief. During the conversation, partners considered what it would take and what would be possible for all children and families if we fundamentally shift the paradigm for investment in early care and education.

“We deeply appreciate our collaborators for engaging in this work and sharing their perspectives as we work toward establishing early care and education as a public good,” said Brandy Jones Lawrence, Senior Director of Policy & Partnerships, Learning Starts At Birth.

The second report titled Career Pathways and Wage Ladders: A Key Opportunity for Improving Quality closely examines the potential of career pathways and wage ladders to serve as the foundation for transformative change for the early care and education workforce. The brief shares design recommendations and conditions for success in order to help states in using the prospective federal resources to support the professional advancement of the workforce.

The Learning Starts At Birth team developed this report through research and work associated with several key partnerships, including the Kansas Children’s Cabinet and Trust Fund and its All In for Kansas Kids strategic plan. Through this collaboration, the team was able to design a career pathway for early care and education professionals that is meaningful and consistently applied across all programs throughout the state.

“Career pathways and connected wage ladders are a crucial way to support the professional growth of the child care workforce while also recognizing the valuable skills and competencies educators bring into their classroom each day,” said Annie Schaeffing, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Bank Street Education Center.

To learn more about Learning Starts At Birth, visit bankstreet.edu/learning-starts-at-birth or read a selection of blog posts on Medium focused on these publications at bankstreetedu.medium.com.