In the summer of 2013, a few consecutive days of searching for quality early learning options changed everything. Two friends living in Indianapolis learned first hand about the national crisis in early learning. Through a series of events they embarked on a journey that would eventually lead to the founding of this organization.
Like all great things it started with a question, “where can I send my child to preschool?” Much to my surprise asking that question in March was a little late to the game, with more than 90% of local early learning opportunities registering for the following school year in early January (and due to a lack of preschools and child care centers most were already filled with a long waitlist).
After that moment we committed to making things easier for families, connecting early learning professionals, and starting much needed conversations. We took to social media and started connecting, following, meeting with, and learning about the world of early learning. “Why are you doing this?” was the question we were asked the most, “Did you know that there are over 19,000 children under five years old in our county?” was always our first response. Almost everybody we met with agreed that there was no local, community-based way to systematically support, educate, and advocate for the families, educators, and other caretakers of young children.
Today, we actively support more than 400 early learning centers, their families, their communities, their educators, their government agencies, and their policy makers. What we have seen is that when systems talk with one another, share data, contribute to shared conversations, and educate their community great things can happen for kids. In just a few short years, we’ve supported over 20,000 individuals who interact with, support, educate, or otherwise care for and love young children.
The need is great though. We can no longer ignore the importance of the early years and the need for local communities to connect, engage, educate, and innovate to meet the needs of children, their families and educators/caregivers.
Our goal with the Early Learning Alliance Network is to support 75,000 young children by 2023! With your help, we believe we can do this. With your help, we can create networks that bring once siloed systems together for young children. With your help, we can make sure all children thrive.Dr. Jody Britten, Founder