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Building Strong Provider Networks: Investing in strong professional early childcare networks will improve outcomes for children families and communities.

Create a strong early childcare professional network. The network will be comprised of early childhood teachers directors, health workers, community members business owners, transportation departments, etc. The point is for the entire community to be a part of this network, investing in early childhood experiences. Belonging to and working among this group will improve morale, and heighten outcomes through collective work. The outcomes of this network group will be in three areas: 1) Career 2) Families 3) Community. The work will include specific goal setting and data collection, and be inclusive of the community, individual and family needs.

Photo of Dana Anderson
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The network group will strategicaly plan to meet outcomes in the three identified areas.  The intent is that the stronger the early childhood system, the more inclusive families will be within communities, and the effects of low resource living will slowly diminish.  Addressing specific areas of need, community by community, will improve conditions for low resource community.
1) Career: The early childhood worker can receive higher education, professional development, and are rewarded with incentives for acheivement.  This will in turn improve program quailty. Stipends for skill training or tuition costs could be possible by the network fund.
2) Family/Community: By being a part of the network, you would need to also have goals in the family arena.  This would include obtaining funds through the network group, that must be used to promote family including, such as increased Dad involevement or stipends to families for voluntueering to support early childhood programs (family work day).
3) Programs: The network group would be a source of financial resources for which early childcare programs would have to apply for to use on enrichment programs.  An example would be having a grant application process for programs to use funds for transportation to a museum for place-based learning enrichment in programs, or to build a greenhouse for a gradening enrichment program and healthy cooking classes.
All work would result in data collection.  The outcomes of having the network group would be regularly reviewed, and the group would make steps toward continual improvements, ie. effectiveness or fund allocation results.

Who will benefit from this idea and where are they located?

Addison County Vermont, United States Families, children, programs, communities and early childhood workers will all benefit from this program. Depending on the magnitude of goals and projects the effects could benefit a much larger audience. Part of the fund allocation through the network group would be dependent on how many people will benefit from each project.

How could you test this idea in a quick and low-cost way right now?

1) Recruit a test group from existing groups in the area that support early childhood. There are existing groups, but they o not function in the comprehensive way listed above. Create a facilitator group to direct work. 2) Create a fund allocation system- grant application process, guidelines for meeting outcomes 3) Allocate funds for several projects. The projects would be selected by the facilitator group, data wold be collected, and results would be shared community-wide to raise awareness of early childhood.

What kind of help would you need to make your idea real?

Funding to support a trial run. Once initial start-up funding was available to aid momentum, additional outreach could be done by the group to assist in obtaining funds from outside sources for future allocation.

Is this an idea that you or your organization would like to take forward?

  • Yes. I am ready and interested in testing this idea and making it real in my community.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Kairen P

Its similar to what I have posted , however for the work like this , we also need a strong network of volunteers too to make it happened

Photo of Dana Anderson

Yes, great point. The hope is that this network would be strong and producing opportunities for specific volunteer needs, as well as generating enthusiasm for lasting change to occur through the network and community members. A starting point, with a mission that reigns human interest in, based on each community. People will be more apt to volunteer if there is organization and intent behind it.... right?

Photo of Catherine Collins

Hi Dana! Middlebury Group here...

Here are some of our questions from your prototype!
Are there other hooks (other than money) that would support this program?
What are some of the existing resources that could be tied into this network?
How could this model be sustained?
What kind of accreditation exists that could incentivize Early Child care providers to participate in this?

We found from one of our surveys key activities that people would enjoy under the community activity part of your idea.
-family work days
-shared meals
-classroom parties / weekend playdates
-curriculum night

Photo of Dana Anderson

From what I gather by working with providers, the potentials hooks are
1) MONEY- the early childhood workforce are underpaid, and many leave these positions in order to earn higher wages elsewhere.
2) Scholarships- Licensing regulations and standards for high quality programs require teaching degrees and licenses. These are costly, and many cannot afford to pursue these with the salary they make.
3) Accreditation is important, and having a stamp of quality approval is important, but again, the workforce needs an incentive beyond just providing high quality programs (though they do care about this, if it is costly to become accredited, they lose interest in pursuing.
4) Services: Volunteers to help in programs, or to help with center needs is greatly needed and appreciated.
5)In-kind support from businesses or other organizations by means of services or materials
6) Grants- most providers are eager to apply for grants, and do not mind the additional work that goes with implementing a grant funded program
7) Network connection- Being a part of a network, peer learning, and group goals help raise morale.

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