Last week, Project Evident’s Sara Peters and Capita’s Joe Waters published an article that seeks to “reframe our current approach to serving children and families by suggesting that our work is crippled by a ‘program first’ approach to early childhood policy rather than the more comprehensive approach we give to employment, monetary, and defense policy.” The piece highlighted the benefits of high-quality early childhood programs, the pitfalls of programmatic solutions to challenges that children and families face, and the danger of “silos” in early childhood education programs. They called for a comprehensive early childhood policy that could guide all aspects of public and private sector efforts on early learning and care.
Throughout the article, Peters and Waters examine the value of moving early childhood policy from what they see as various programmatic efforts like pre-K, home visiting programs, and child care subsidies, towards a complete policy framework that would in turn guide policy creation. They believe that a comprehensive policy framework would allow private and public sector actors to fill gaps in services more directly. Without such a policy framework, the authors suggest that various early childhood programs remain in their own silos and the effectiveness of programs is limited.
In considering what a comprehensive early childhood policy would look like, Peters and Waters see opportunities to expand evidence-based policies that are also interdisciplinary. These would include health, education, and social services efforts to address children’s developmental, emotional, and education needs.
This piece highlights the possibilities for long-term changes to early childhood policy through creative thinking and dialogue. Given what we know about the importance of high-quality early learning, considering innovative approaches and solutions to challenges are vital to positively impacting outcomes for children and families.
You can read the full piece here.