Help our children with quality education

Child Care is Essential

The DC Early Learning Collaborative is an alliance of more than 100 education professionals, organizations, and coalitions working together to advocate for improved early childhood education policy, investment, and services.

Mother playing with her young child

DCELC mission statement

The DC Early learning Collaborative is an alliance of  over 100 Early Childhood educators, professionals, organizations, and coalitions  working together to advocate for improved public policy, public investment, and  cross sector service delivery capacity. The overarching goal is to help produce  and sustain a seamless continuum of high-quality programs and services that  result in positive outcomes for all of the District of Columbia’s young children  and their families. 

DCELC vision statement

The creation of a seamless continuum of high-quality  Early Childhood Education programs and services in the District of Columbia that  result in positive outcomes for all young children and their families? We share  that vision and we invite you to join the DC Early Learning Collaborative in  making that vision a reality.

DCELC Theory of Change

The DC Early Learning Collaborative will develop,  acquire and disseminate economic, social and educational research; utilize state  of the art communication, mobilization tools and strategies; and convene and  collaborate with early learning professionals and other key stakeholders to  achieve high-quality early care and education in the District of Columbia.

DCELC history Timeline

DC Early Learning Collaborative

DCELC

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1964

Washington DC‘s Anacostia Pre-School Project serves as a pilot site for the Federal Head

1972

Washington DC‘s Public Schools (DCPS) becomes one of the first jurisdictions in the country to offer pre-Kindergarten to four-year

1979

The Mayor‘s Advisory Committee on Early Childhood Development (MACECD) is established to hold public hearings on early childhood education issues; increase public awareness of programs; recommend methods of upgrading services; and improve communications between providers, the public and the government.

1989

A report by the DC Committee on Public Education (COPE) calls attention to critical problems in DCPS, including declining achievement levels as students moved through grades; the poor condition of school facilities; and lack of accountability among school and related agencies. The report makes several recommendations for public school reform, including the need to expand and upgrade the quality and quantity of early childhood programs. In response nearly 500 pre- Kindergarten and kindergarten classrooms across the city are refurbished.

1990

A coalition of business, government and community organizations forms the DC Early Childhood Collaborative. The Collaborative pools public and private sector resources to improve the well-being of DC children and families. In 1993, the Collaborative establishes the Frederick Douglass Early Childhood Development and Family Support Center. The Center is later turned over to DCPS to operate.

1990

A coalition of business, government and community organizations forms the DC Early Childhood Collaborative. The Collaborative pools public and private sector resources to improve the well-being of DC children and families. In 1993, the Collaborative establishes the Frederick Douglass Early Childhood Development and Family Support Center. The Center is later turned over to DCPS to operate.

At Work for Our Community

Networking
Sharing with our community
Advocacy group for children & families
Community organizing
Creating policy

Carrie Thornhill

President
Working to ensure all publicly funded birth to three and Pre-K programs are of high quality, affordable and accessible to all eligible children and families in the District of Columbia..

Our Proud Partners

Because of our partners we are doing better for more people!

Frequently Asked Questions

Pre-Kindergarten – 3 and 4 year olds
• Collaborated with then City Council Chairman Vincent Gray to lead the city-wide public awareness and community mobilization campaign Pre-K for All DC. This campaign resulted in unanimous passage of the city’s nationally recognized legislation: the Pre-kindergarten Expansion and Enhancement Act of 2008, providing universal and free PreK- for all 3 and 4 year olds in the District of Columbia.
• Helped position the District of Columbia to become the nation’s leading jurisdiction in the provision of access and public investment in early childhood services and opportunities. Using a diverse delivery system of public schools and community based organizations, as of 2018, the District serves 72% or 6187 of 3 year olds and 86 percent of 4 year olds or 7,318 for a total of 13,505 children. The District spends over $13,000 per child, substantially outranking all other jurisdictions around the country.
Birth to Three – Zero to 3
• Worked closely with the Bainum Family Foundation and leading non-profits in the District to help craft and advocate the 2018 Birth to Three for All DC legislation that was passed unanimously by the DC City Council with first year funding. The legislation provides for a comprehensive system of services, supports and the prospects for multi-year investments in education and health services.

• The Collaborative is serving as a guardian of the purposes and vision inherent in the Pre-K and B-3 legislation and a leading advocate for the full implementation of the laws with fidelity
• The Collaborative’s current policy agenda is to help the city produce a comprehensive, sustainable system of services, supports and investments for children birth to school entry and extending those supports to where they are needed most, Wards 7 & 8, the east end of the city. As a part of this agenda, the Collaborative is focused on making improvements to the workforce of early learning professionals, particularly increased credentialing and compensation for classroom teachers and directors.
• The Collaborative is supporting a city wide campaign to secure the multi-year public investments needed to fully implement the landmark Birth to Three legislation.

• The first five years of a child’s life are more formative than at any other stage, creating either a sturdy or a fragile foundation. Seventy-five percent of brain growth and 85% of intellectual, personality, and social skills develops before age 5. To make the most of these early years, children need consistent and nurturing care, safe and stimulating environments, nutritious food and attention to their physical needs, and opportunities to engage in positive interactions with adults and other children.
• High-quality early learning services and opportunities serve as the foundation for the success of the District’s Pre-K-12 school reform efforts, the city’s workforce development initiatives and the city’s long-term economic vitality.
• An effective monitoring and advocacy mechanism is needed to ensure all eligible children from infancy through school entry receive the great start and sustainable public investments, resulting in positive outcomes for children and families in the District of Columbia.
• DCELC is the leading non-profit organization working consistently and collaboratively with public and private partners to dramatically reduce the current 29,000 shortage in infant and toddler slots and to ensure all publicly funded birth to three and Pre-K programs are of high quality and affordable to all eligible children and families in the District of Columbia..

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