Quality early learning opportunities set children on a path to success, preparing them for Kindergarten and success in the early grades.

Meeting the state’s attainment goal requires setting a strong foundation for all children in their early years. The path to educational success begins at birth as children babble, sing, play and talk with their caregivers. As they get older, opportunities for learning, whether in the home, with a family member, or with caring teachers catapult their early literacy skills, physical, and social-emotional growth.

Multiple studies show that investments in quality early learning are some of the most impactful we can make in education, generating a return on investment of seven (7) to ten (10) dollars for every dollar invested.However today, just 19% of 3- and 4-year-old Arizona children are participating in quality early learning settings, which is down from 21% prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and far from our statewide goal of 45%.

To move Arizona forward, we must move education forward. This work begins with early learning.

Education Forward Arizona is working to:

  • Use our voice to support and advocate for quality early learning, especially

    • Read the op-ed co-authored by Education Forward Arizona, the Arizona Early Childhood Funders Collaborative, and Arizona Early Childhood Alliance about the current state of quality early learning post-pandemic

 

  • Mobilize our network to champion quality early learning

      This year we partnered with the early childhood community to advocate for continued state and federal financial investments in quality early learning through the Preschool Development Grant, which provided quality early learning to 3000+ low-income children. We also advocated for funding to support early literacy, in collaboration with a number of partners, which supports children in grades K-3. Both items received funding from Federal COVID-19 relief funding.

    • Through the leadership of the Arizona Early Childhood Alliance, we contributed to the design of and rallied our network to participate in the Early Childhood Day at the Legislature. On this day, hundreds of advocates from across the state gathered virtually to educate policymakers on the importance of quality early learning.

 

  • Elevate the importance of, align policies and practice, and advocate for quality early learning through service on key collaborative coalitions, including:

    • First Things First, Regional Council
    • Arizona Early Childhood Alliance
    • Arizona Early Education Funders’ Collaborative
    • Arizona State Board of Education, K-3 Literacy Ad Hoc Committee
    • Arizona Department of Education, Equitable and Effective Funding Task Force
    • Read On Prescott
    • LAUNCH Flagstaff
    • Coconino Coalition for Children and Youth
    • United Way of Northern Arizona