Early Childhood Learning@100%: Innovation 10
Developing the City Dept of Food
The projects presented in the ten innovations areas are all designed to address barriers to vital services. Action teams should review all projects and prioritize those that have the best chance of addressing the barriers identified in the 100% New Mexico countywide survey. Your collaborative and result-focused local work is nothing less than heroic.
Project: Early Childhood Learning.10.1
Project 1: The “County/City partnership that funds the Department of Early Childhood Learning” project
Elevator pitch: When Eric was two, his mom should have been able to scan city hall’s website to find all sorts of early childhood learning programs. She should have been able to see a clearly defined menu item called “Department of Early Childhood Learning” right next to the Departments of Police, Fire and Parks. It should not be buried deep in the bowels of the website. It’s a vital, stand-alone department (or should be) and deserves to be treated as such.
Why is this department so important? After all, various local early childhood learning programs are already funded, often in part by county entities, city entities, foundations, nonprofit organizations or multi-county coalitions. In smaller areas, college centers or nonprofits are the hub for all early childhood learning. This proposed department won’t put early childhood learning programs in place. It will instead regularly evaluate the early childhood learning program needs of its constituents, determine if they are adequate and regularly research innovations. This job will look very different depending on the town, it may take a part-time city manager a few hours per year in the smallest of hamlets. But it’s important work that needs to be done by someone who reports to an individual who regularly stands for election.
Potential partners: mayors, city councilors, county commissioners, advocates for parents, public education, early childhood learning program leaders and socially-engaged businesses.
Project: Early Childhood Learning.10.2
Project 2: The “convene your fellow early childhood learning program advocates and enhance your skills in public speaking, committee briefing, and how to get to a lawmaker” project
This project is a crash course that you will develop with local experts about how to contact local and state leaders, give an elevator pitch on your projects, and the protocol for committee hearings that can lead to funding.
Project: Early Childhood Learning.10.3
Project 3: The “know your stuff before you meet the mayor” project
Innovation #10, in some ways, is putting it all together. By this we mean that, by the time your action team becomes familiar with all ten innovation areas and their projects, you will be prepared to meet with elected officials and stakeholders to discuss how your city can strengthen its support of early childhood support in all its many enriching forms.
Project: Early Childhood Learning.10.4
Project 4: The “create a bold vision and strategic plan” project
It’s time to create a detailed plan for this new (or improved) local Department of Early Childhood Supports. As with previous projects, you will have learned its strengths and weaknesses, potential funding sources, and who the players are. You’ll be in a strong position to document what’s great and needs to be kept as it is or expanded, and what needs to change.