The Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge (ELC) grant program is a joint effort by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to improve early learning and development for young children. It does so by supporting states’ efforts to: increase the number of children with high needs, birth to 5 years old, in high-quality early childhood settings; and build comprehensive early childhood systems
Twenty states have received 4-year ELC grants ranging from $20 to $70 million since the program was initiated in 2011. Although grantees have not dedicated significant portions of their ELC grants to initiatives targeting infants and toddlers specifically, their efforts to strengthen the systems that support all young children and families have the potential to improve outcomes for babies if their needs are intentionally addressed.
ZERO TO THREE has developed a number of resources related to the ELC:
This article, released in June 2014, discusses how the most recent ELC grantees (Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Vermont) are targeting infants and toddlers. Shorter pieces examine each of the six main strategies discussed in the paper.
- Developing and Integrating Early Learning Guidelines for Infants and Toddlers
- Professional Development of the Infant-Toddler Workforce
- Expansion of Home Visiting
- Building Capacity in High-Need Communities
- Engaging and Supporting Families
- Connecting Families to Appropriate Services
This article, released in August 2013, discusses the progress California, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Washington state made implementing their ELC grants in the first year. It also outlines some of the plans the second round of grantees (Colorado, Illinois, New Mexico, Oregon, and Wisconsin) included in their applications that could benefit infants and toddlers.
This article, released in January 2012, is an analysis of the first nine ELC grantees’ (California, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Washington state) applications.
This PowerPoint presentation emphasizes the importance of supporting early learning beginning from birth and provides information on how the unique needs of infants and toddlers can be addressed in each of the ELC selection criteria areas.
This annotated bibliography includes resources from the ZERO TO THREE Policy Center and the former National Infant & Toddler Child Care Initiative at ZERO TO THREE. The resources are organized by the ELC selection criteria to best provide assistance in how areas affecting infants and toddlers align with each of the criteria.