Investing in Children, Families and Communities

Child Care is Essential

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..
Mother playing with her young child
group of children in a village classroom

DCELC mission statement

The mission of DCELC is to work with a wide range of stakeholders to prepare children from birth to school entry for success in school, careers and in life by improving the quality and quantity, and affordability of high-quality early care and education services in the District of Columbia. 
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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.

two children playing with water

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


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


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


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.


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.


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.


Washington DC receives two major national grants that provide new energy for the early childhood education community and a renewed focus on quality programming.


A group of more than 200 early childhood education and K-12 organizations come together to form the Universal School Readiness Stakeholder Group (USRSG).

At Work for Our Community

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

Our Proud Partners

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

Stay in touch

Add your name to our growing list of volunteers and community leaders.

Stay in touch

Add your name to our growing list of volunteers and community leaders.

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