Objective

To increase public awareness and knowledge of the importance of early childhood development and education.

Overview

In September of 2014, over 60 Early Childhood Education (ECE) leaders, parents, employees, providers and community leaders met to discuss how to improve the lives of children from ages 0-8 years old. The group is called the Early Childhood Education Coalition for Dona Ana County. This meeting initiated the need for a country-wide effort and comprehensive plan.

This Early Childhood Education Coalition now consists of over 19 organizations and 60 individuals. An Early Childhood Education plan was created with the following eight major goals:

Public Awareness

Early childhood is a time of incredible brain development. By age three, a child’s brain has reached 80% of its adult size. This makes early childhood a critical time for education. Our goal is to increase knowledge of this early childhood development and the importance of “building brains” among parents, policy-makers, educators, and the general public.

Full Integration of ECE Systems

Our childcare education and health programs are best utilized when we work together. By forming a strong referral network and educating one another on qualifications and services, we can collaborate to best serve our families.

Children’s Museum & Parent Resource Center

The children’s museum will encourage parents and children to learn together through interactive play, with a focus on showing parents how to build their child’s brain during its most critical stage for learning. It will provide parents with information on county resources for health and early childhood services. Our children’s travelling museum will launch in 2018!

Access to Early Childhood Education

Our objective is to identify where children are not receiving any form of early childhood education. We are conducting research to determine service gaps and funding sources to create systems to properly serve every child.

Workforce Development

To ensure that our county has sufficient and qualified early childhood providers, our early childhood professionals need professional development opportunities and adequate compensation. Our county needs to engage in ongoing recruitment and retention efforts of early childhood personnel.

Parent & Family Empowerment

Increasing family engagement and their understanding of early childhood education is vital. Families have a key role to play in their child’s healthy development. We have developed a listing for housing, childcare, education and other local services. Our Resource Directory can be found on the nonprofit organization, Ngage New Mexico website.

Maternal Health

A healthy start in life begins with a healthy mom. The coalition is committed to finding ways to secure access to quality, affordable healthcare for every expecting mother.

Accountability & Measurement

The Center for Community Analysis at New Mexico State University provides research and data on statistics that determine where we need to focus our effort in early childhood education.  Our Education Context Report and Needs Assessment Gap Analysis have been products of our partnership.