We are accomplishing our mission through a four-pronged approach: strengthening early childhood education, building a movement, catalyzing policy change and grounding our work through research. We have brought together thousands of Vermonters who are calling for change as well as making the change in their local communities.
This is a multi-year mission and we’ve spent the last several years together:
- Raising public awareness about the importance of early childhood development
- Shoring up critically underfunded elements of Vermont’s child care system
- Developing cross-sector partnerships
- Building public will for policy change
- Identifying and implementing best practices, policies and funding mechanisms that can be replicated
- Elevating the voices of Vermont’s children, their families and early educators
- Inspiring Vermont and national philanthropists to invest in positive, lasting change for Vermont's children and families
STRENGTHENING EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION
We’re building care. Our programs team of early childhood education experts provides a variety of services to early educators and other community stakeholders, offering customized technical assistance on programmatic and business practices, Vermont-specific resources and grants.
We’re innovating change. Let’s Grow Kids (LGK) is collaborating with business, education and health care leaders, elected officials and local communities to build a sustainable high-quality child care system in Vermont.
We’re planning for the long-term. By 2025, our policy and programs teams will have ensured that our partners are strong and in position to carry on critical roles to maintain a high-quality, affordable child care system.
BUILDING A MOVEMENT
LGK is 30,000 Vermonters strong and growing every day because of our dedicated volunteers (our Action Heroes) who take strategic action steps in all regions of the state:
- Walking door-to-door to talk with their neighbors
- Speaking and tabling at community events
- Hosting legislative meet-and-greets
- Writing op/eds and letters-to-the-editor
- Hosting rallies
- Engaging community leaders
Through the hard work and grit of these Action Heroes—including parents, early educators, business and health care leaders—LGK has grown from a small public awareness campaign to a statewide movement and a powerful force for change. Together, we are persuading decision-makers to prioritize Vermont’s youngest children.
CATALYZING POLICY CHANGE
A sustainable system of high-quality, affordable child care requires significant policy change and infusion of public investment. LGK is working with our supporters to effect change in Montpelier, and there is momentum in the Capitol with a commitment to long-term investment. We are working with the Administration and Legislature to:
- Expand and transform the state’s Child Care Financial Assistance Program to make high-quality child care truly affordable and available to all Vermont children
- Support and expand the early childhood education workforce through proposals for student loan repayment support programs, scholarships and improved pay for early education professionals
- Build child care capacity around the state by supporting programs to open or expand
- Continue to improve Vermont’s universal prekindergarten program, one of the highest utilized publicly-funded pre-K program in the nation
- Support employers—who have a vital stake in employees’ access to affordable, high-quality care—to be part of the solution
- Make connections between early education and improved health outcomes
Click here to view our proposed legislative agenda for 2019, and here to see an overview of the initiatives that became law this year.
GROUNDING OUR WORK IN RESEARCH
We know that in order to be effective in our advocacy and to ensure the best results for young children, we must be driven by research and best practice. Some of our collaborative research projects include:
- Stalled at the Start, a bi-annual analysis of the demand for and supply of regulated infant and toddler care in Vermont
- Women, Work and Child Care, a white paper on the intersection of child care, the economy and gender equity in Vermont
- Early Care and Learning Household Study, a survey of the practices, needs and perceptions of Vermont households with children under age six years
- Vermont’s Early Care and Learning Dividend, an analysis of the return on investment Vermont could achieve by investing in high-quality, affordable child care