Early Learning

Because the first few years of life are critically important and can affect an entire lifetime, we support children’s healthy development and learning prior to entering pre-kindergarten and kindergarten.

What We Support

Our goal is to increase the number of high-quality early learning seats for infants and toddlers in the communities we serve. In the District of Columbia’s Wards 7 and 8, for instance, we will add 750 new high-quality seats by 2020. High-quality seats support the cognitive and social and emotional development of young children and also provide children and their families with vital health, mental wellness and nutrition services. Because we believe that parents are a child’s first and most important teacher, we also are committed to strong and effective family engagement.

In addition, our work includes support for the policy advocacy that is essential for systemic change in the District of Columbia and beyond. Currently we are working with partners to call attention to the need for a comprehensive birth-to-three system in D.C., including the need to fully fund and implement the Birth-to-Three For All DC Act of 2018.

Our work in early learning addresses:

  • Practice — Providing technical assistance and training to help early learning providers deliver evidence-based infant and toddler care (including crucial home visitation and mental wellness services), increasing the availability of community-based supports for these children, and investing in infrastructure to help high-quality providers expand
  • Policy — Engaging policy/advocacy partners to ensure that public funding is secured, evidence-based policies are enacted, and programs are coordinated and efficient, leading to high-quality and sustainable early learning and wrap-around supports for infants and toddlers and their families
  • Research — Conducting and supporting research that identifies innovations and how to scale them, as well as evaluating our services and measuring our impact

Our Programs

Supporting a Public Education and Advocacy Campaign for Early Childhood
Supporting Facility Improvements for D.C. Providers Through the Early Learning
Quality Fund

Increasing the Availability of New High-Quality Early Learning Seats
Converting Existing Early Learning Seats to High-Quality
Delivering Coordinated, Comprehensive Services for Children and Families
Building a Collective Policy Agenda Through a Birth-to-Three Policy Alliance

Learn More

Watch this short video about our early learning work in the District of Columbia.


Learn how we measure success across our focus areas and initiatives.