Dear friends,

It has been an exciting, if somewhat surreal, week for FFYF and for early learning. This morning, after catching glimpses of Jenna Bush Hager and Mariska Hargitay, I experienced 15 seconds (no, not minutes, seconds) of what I think amounts to “fame” for an early learning advocate: telling the Today Show’s Al Roker what to look for in a quality early learning program.

Though you can watch the clip here, I’d rather skip right to what I wish I would have had time to say—or, better yet, show—because, brief though it was, the experience was a reminder of the importance of demonstrating what quality early learning looks like, and why investing in quality matters.

FFYF has tools and resources designed to do just that. As part of our Invest In US exhibit, you can watch an exceptional early childhood teacher in action. This series of video vignettes shows how this well-trained and well-supported teacher manages her classroom and guides her preschoolers through problem-solving and literacy exercises. It is impossible to watch her and not be inspired by the power of what can happen in an early childhood classroom. You can also tour her classroom, and explore how she has thoughtfully arranged her classroom environment to facilitate learning, play, and a strong classroom community. And those talking points of mine that were so abruptly interrupted by the weather forecast? You can find them in this this handout, which has often come in handy for making quality understandable to policymakers, business leaders, and journalists.

This opportunity to highlight early learning came about as part of NBC’s “Education Nation” summit. And how far the field has come since last year’s Education Nation event! Early learning ascended to center stage this year, with the “Brain Power: Why Early Learning Matters” panel combining the razzle-dazzle of brain science with the star power of Jennifer Garner.. So, congratulations—we get to play with the big kids now! And we’ll need all the attention and momentum we can get, as Congress is focusing in earnest on funding decisions for the upcoming fiscal year. We’ll keep you posted through all the attendant twists and turns, Meantime, keep spreading the word about the importance of quality early learning—you never know when 18 million of your closest friends might be listening!