The Children’s Movement of Florida has just released an actionable roadmap for the future of early learning policy and funding in the third-largest state, stemming from a collaborative process over 18 months called The Future Project.
Never before have parents and educators been sought out for their perspectives, informed, and engaged at scale in early learning advocacy: this is the key to The Movement’s approach to solving persistent challenges in early learning–together with other policy leaders, early learning business owners, and partners in every corner of the state.
“My highlight of the project was being able to participate in Children’s Week at the Capitol in Tallahassee and feeling so supported and empowered by those of you there with me”, says Kayla Miranda a mother of two children and Future Project Steering Committee member.
The planning phase of the project, with major support from the Helios Education Foundation, consisted of three main phases. First, from April to November 2022, The Movement traveled the state meeting with small groups of parents and educators to talk about their dreams, challenges, and experiences with early learning. Then a statewide Steering Committee (70% parents, educators, and owners or directors of early learning programs) worked collaboratively on draft recommendations responding to what they heard. The last phase was a feedback tour, in which The Movement heard from over 450 community members, gathering reactions and feedback on a draft version of the roadmap.
Florida’s Early Learning Roadmap, released this month, outlines recommendations for policymakers, administrators, and community members, stressing that we all have a role to play to get to the early learning future imagined within it. Throughout the process, the project’s leaders have stressed that the roadmap is a recipe and not a menu–we need to work towards each of these recommendations to make real progress for young children in our state.
“We are so proud of this collaborative effort, centered on parent and educator voices,” says Paul J. Luna, president and CEO of Helios Education Foundation. “Florida’s Early Learning Roadmap will help guide reforms and mindset shifts needed to continue creating opportunities for success for the youngest students in Florida.”
The Future Project is now transitioning to the implementation phase with funding support from Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation. The Movement will galvanize support for the roadmap by informing the public, elected leaders and other stakeholders about the recommendations. They will also continue collaborative efforts to take action at the community level. The implementation phase of the project will include the development of new data tools and the design of a community advocacy training–continuing to elevate the voices of Florida parents and educators.
“Parents are their child’s first teacher so it makes sense for them to be the first in line to advocate for early learning,” said Teri Hansen, Barancik Foundation president and CEO. “The Children’s Movement is the right leader to push forward this innovative vision.”
“It’s been so energizing to work with stakeholders all across the state and find that there is broad agreement among parents, educators, employers, and state leaders about the way forward,” says Madeleine Thakur, president and CEO of The Children’s Movement. “The next step is the most important: making good on these recommendations and working together for state-level change."
- Learn more about The Future Project and download Florida's Early Learning Roadmap.
- Watch our one-hour community roadmap launch.
- Let us know how you'd like to get involved in the implementation of the roadmap recommendations.
About Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation
The Charles & Margery Barancik family has long believed in the power of philanthropy to shape our world and enrich the lives of all people. It was the expression of this belief that led them in 2014 to establish Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation—a private, family foundation located in Sarasota, Florida. Barancik Foundation creates initiatives and awards grants in Sarasota and beyond in the areas of education, humanitarian causes, arts and culture, the environment, and medical research. For more information, visit www.barancikfoundation.org.
About Helios Education Foundation
Helios Education Foundation exists to support postsecondary attainment for Latino students, African American students, and students from low-income backgrounds in Arizona and Florida. Driven by our fundamental beliefs of community, equity, investment, and partnership, Helios has invested about $330 million in partnerships and initiatives focused on improving third-grade reading, college-going and postsecondary attainment in the two states we serve since 2006. For more information, visit www.helios.org.