Though high-quality early learning experiences from infancy through third grade provide children with a strong foundation for academic and lifelong success, more may be needed for the most vulnerable children. Growing evidence shows that young children’s learning is strengthened when they are healthy, both physically and mentally. At the same time, positive early childhood and education experiences predict later health outcomes. Research also shows that parents’ well-being, in terms of economic sufficiency, education levels, and health and mental health, affects their capacity to promote their children’s learning and development. Thus, the most vulnerable children need a well-coordinated combination of services beyond early care and education (ECE) programs to address their families’ economic and health needs and to support parents as their children’s first teachers.
The NGA Center helps governors and their advisors design strategies and policies that promote greater coordination and collaboration between ECE programs and those from other agencies that serve the same population of young children and their families. More specifically, the NGA Center can work with governors’ offices to develop policies and strategies that:
- Leverage states’ investments and initiatives in ECE to improve short-term and long-term health outcomes; and
- Take a multi-generation approach that integrates ECE services and family support programs, including workforce development, economic sufficiency, and parent education, to improve outcomes for both young children and their parents.