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Washington Early Learning State and Local Coordination Project


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The Department of Early Learning (DEL), in collaboration with our partners at the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and Thrive by Five Washington (Thrive), completed the 16-month Washington Early Learning State and Local Coordination Project in June 2013. The project’s goal was to strengthen how different parts of the state’s early learning system—state agencies, regional collaborative efforts, K-12 education and child care providers—work together to support children in Washington. 


The project identified improvements that will help us create an even more accessible, accountable and developmentally and culturally appropriate early learning system to ensure that every child is healthy and prepared for success in school and in life.

The recommendations


  • Adopt a stakeholder engagement framework for policy and programmatic issues to provide decision-makers with information to make sound decisions and promote alliance between state and regional partners.
  • Adopt performance goals for state and regional early learning partners on high-priority actions to implement the Washington Early Learning Plan.
State-level coordination (Washington Early Learning Partnership)

  • Invite the state Department of Health (DOH) and Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) to join the Washington Early Learning Partnership with DEL, OSPI and Thrive to enhance coordination at the decision-making level.
  • Engage with the Early Learning Advisory Council (ELAC) when setting the annual Partnership priorities.
  • Improve communication between the Partnership and regional early learning partners.
Early Learning Advisory Council (ELAC)

  • Strengthen ELAC’s advisory function to influence early learning issues.
  • Include a representative from each regional coalition on ELAC.
Regional coalitions

Regional coalitions are a group of early learning professionals, parents, K-12 school leaders, and business and civic leaders who represent a geographic area. The state is divided into 10 regions. Coalition members assess the need for early learning services in their community, plan actions and build public support.

  • Strengthen the coalitions’ effectiveness and durability.

  • Increase engagement of diverse stakeholders.
  • Strengthen joint regional and state action to achieve goals, including creating simple regional action plans and providing a voice in ELAC.

How was the public involved?

The project’s recommendations were shaped by a 29-member Steering Committee, 150 stakeholders who participated in interviews, and nearly 400 comments from the public.


The project conducted community research to better understand barriers to a strong early learning system and opportunities for improving it. The research included interviews and focus groups with 150 stakeholders across the state and a review of practices in other states


The project’s first opportunity for public comment was an online survey about the findings from the community research on barriers to a strong early learning system and ideas for improvements. We received 175 sets of responses.
View the first survey executive summary and survey results.


For the second round of comment, we asked the public to review and comment on the project’s preliminary recommendations. We received comments from 223 stakeholders. View the summary or full analysis.

What is happening now?

DEL, OSPI and Thrive are implementing the recommendations. The first ELAC meeting with regional advisors from each coalition will take place in Fall 2013. 


DEL encourages anyone who is interested in early learning to explore opportunities to engage with your regional coalition


Questions? Email