History & Context
In 2018, a group of early childhood organizations came together to discuss opportunities for collective action to fuel the early childhood movement across the country. Inspired by the tremendous growth among local leaders and networks driving change for young children and families at the community level, the Center for the Study of Social Policy, Early Opportunities, and Start Early (formerly the Ounce of Prevention Fund) decided to host a national convening to continue this conversation.
The Harnessing Community Momentum Convening in 2019 confirmed the urgent need for better collaboration and real-time connection across the early childhood field. As a result, work began on co-creating a suite of essential tools for the local early childhood movement that would include a measurement road map and framework for impact, resources that elevate local voices and stories, and the development of an online community to share knowledge, scale expertise and fuel innovation in real-time.
In January of 2020, 42 local, state and national early childhood partners gathered to establish a shared vision for the design of this online community – the Early Childhood Connector. The goal was to create a public good – a space that promotes meaningful connections to peers and experts, access to tailored knowledge through deeper consultation and mentoring, and ways to capture, curate, and share knowledge in real time.
Creating Space for Collaboration in Light of COVID-19
While the intention was to launch this platform in late 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic made the need for connection and collaboration across the field even more urgent. As a response, we launched the Early Childhood Connector in March, months ahead of schedule, to connect the field in real time and help each other as we navigate the implications of this global health crisis together. To learn more about the COVID-19 Group launch on the ECConnector, check out the "Gathering in Times of Crisis" blog.
In the meantime, we continue to co-design the broader knowledge-sharing community and platform in partnership with this diverse, and rapidly growing community to strengthen and build resiliency within the greater early childhood system.