Spring Beginnings: Introducing Our New Name and Expanded Focus

Children at the aquariumThis season is especially exciting for us as we introduce our new name and brand, the Alliance for Early Success, to reflect our expanded focus to support and invest in effective state polices for children from birth through age eight. (See our Press Release)

Since our start, the Birth to Five Policy Alliance and our partners have worked together to foster greater understanding of, and investments in, strong state policies covering the years from birth to five, when so much important development occurs. Our focus on these younger years reflected a common awareness of the tremendous growth during early childhood, and the opportunity to nurture healthy development and better prepare young children for school.

As we continued our efforts to drive better early childhood policies, we could not ignore the signposts. The field began to whisper (no doubt some had been shouting for years) that social, emotional and cognitive growth in the earliest years of childhood continues in a similar way through age eight, each year building on the one before, and supporting the years to come.

We came to realize that in order to both sustain gains achieved before kindergarten into the elementary years and strengthen the positive results over the long haul, we must stretch beyond the five year age marker and the start of kindergarten. Our new name and expanded reach take into account the research that shows the best way to get and keep children on a path to success is to begin at birth and continue through age eight.

In addition, today we are pleased to share our new state policy framework that was constructed with input from more than 150 experts across the United States, including partners within the Alliance network, early childhood educators, K-12 educators and administrators, advocates, researchers, policymakers, and foundation officers. The framework outlines three policy priority areas: health, family support, and learning that are essential for the healthy growth and development of young children. These are grounded on a foundation of standards, assessment, and accountability. The policies focus on all children, though an underlying principle of the Framework is that limited resources should first be allocated to the most vulnerable children at risk for poor outcomes.

We hope the Birth through Age Eight State Policy Framework can be used as a road map for anyone influencing or making policy who wants to improve outcomes for young children and for society.

In the years ahead, you can count on the Alliance to redouble our efforts to serve as a catalyst to support better state early childhood policies through strategic partnerships, leadership, funding, and technical assistance. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook!

Lisa Klein, Executive Director, Alliance for Early Success (April 15, 2013)