Education

A decade-long community movement for early child learning and care

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This is part two of our New Mexico early childhood education series.  

In New Mexico, childcare providers like Valeria Holloway, parents and advocates are spearheading a movement to prioritize early childhood education. This multi-faceted movement is advancing a narrative that our children are smart, parents care and teachers are committed in New Mexico.

More than 10 years ago, this child-centered movement took form, organized by parents, teachers, Tribal and community leaders, WKKF’s grantee partners and policy experts. The goal was to address the well-being of children in New Mexico and ensure universal access to early learning for children birth-to-5. Over the last decade, the combined efforts have gained momentum. New Mexico celebrated the official launch of the Early Childhood Education and Care Department (ECECD) on July 1, 2020 – becoming only the fourth state in the country with a stand-alone department dedicated to services for children ages birth-to-5. 

New Mexico Early Childhood Historic Milestones

  • $300 million for the first year early childhood permanent fund
  • $400 million in new recurring funding since 2012
  • $16 million for 1,550 new pre-k seats
  • 4th ECE department in the nation

The community’s authentic voice has been central to the values and key to the progress. Listening to what parents and guardians need for their children has been the bedrock. Over time the strategy evolved to include research, narrative change and policy analysis, which contributed to informing conversations and pilot programs that provided the framework for this historic, early childhood program expansion.

ECECD, credits their establishment to a community-driven partnership connecting teachers, parents, Tribal leaders, policy leaders, government officials and non-profit organizations including the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Today, this cohort of child advocates remains pivotal as the department works with parents and providers to assess pandemic safety concerns and understand remote learning needs during these unprecedented times.

Read more about New Mexico’s commitment to prioritize early childhood education.

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