Policy Resource

ZERO TO THREE Toolkit Helps Infants and Toddlers Race to the Top in the Early Learning Challenge

Aug 29, 2011

The Obama Administration released the much-anticipated final application for the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) competition on Tuesday, August 23.

The RTT-ELC offers states a new opportunity to increase the number of disadvantaged children, birth to five, in high-quality early childhood settings and to enhance state integrated early learning systems. RTT-ELC will provide a total of $500 million for the winning states to improve early learning and development programs. States must demonstrate a commitment to building coordinated systems, aligning resources and policies, and increasing access to high-quality early learning and development programs for children who need them most. Even states that do not secure grants are expected to benefit from the process of designing the systems envisioned for the program.

The deadline for submitting application is October 19, 2011. The Department of Education and Department of Health and Human Services will host a webinar on September 1, 2011 to provide an orientation to the application for states planning to apply for the grants. The Departments also plan to host a Technical Assistance Planning Workshop for potential applicants on September 13, 2011 in Washington, DC and via video teleconference with the Departments’ regional offices.

ZERO TO THREE toolkit:

For infants and toddlers, the new grants are a prime opportunity to be included as an integral part of a system for quality early childhood services. To support states in incorporating the youngest children in their visions, ZERO TO THREE developed a toolkit to serve as a resource for states in their early childhood system planning efforts. The toolkit contains a compilation of resources (with links to individual toolkit components) from the ZERO TO THREE Policy Center and the National Infant & Toddler Child Care Initiative at ZERO TO THREE, along with a PowerPoint to help states address the unique needs of infants and toddlers in the proposed RTT-ELC selection criteria.

Promise Neighborhood support:

For local entities applying for the Promise Neighborhood implementation and planning grants, both of which are due next week on September 6, ZERO TO THREE’s toolkit can also help to ensure a comprehensive approach to including infants and toddlers in a community’s educational programs and family and community supports. A local entity applying for the grant must incorporate ongoing state level efforts regarding high-quality early learning programs such as: state early learning and development standards, comprehensive assessment systems, workforce development systems, family and community engagement, a coordinated data infrastructure, and a method of measuring, monitoring, evaluating, and improving program quality. The ZERO TO THREE toolkit can help guide applicants in addressing the unique needs of infants and toddlers as they develop their plan for the Promise Neighborhood program. For additional information on Promise Neighborhoods, please visit the Department of Education website.

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