Policy Resource

Washington Takes on the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge

Feb 9, 2016

Professional Devleopment resource information on state policies and initiatives that impact infants, toddlers and their families

In December 2011, Washington was awarded a four-year Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) grant and proposed the following targets to improve its early learning and development (ELD) systems. The state proposed to:

Implement a tiered subsidy reimbursement for licensed centers and family child care homes participating in the quality rating and improvement system (QRIS). 
Offer Coaching and quality improvement awards to ELD programs that have been rated in the QRIS. 
Develop training on Early Learning and Development Benchmarks (birth to five), which are currently being revised.

As of 2013, Washington has made the following progress towards its proposed ELD systems.

The Department of Early Learning, in partnership with the community and technical college system, created a three-stage stackable certificate in early childhood education, which aligns with the newly adopted Core Competencies and Early Learning and Development Guidelines. The certificates utilize consistent course numbers, course descriptions, and learning objectives. They build on each other to lead to a state credential that articulates into an Associate degree. The second certificate allows professionals to specialize in one of several areas, including infant- toddler care. All three certificates are reflected on the career lattice and eligible for professional development incentives. 
Washington implemented a trainer approval process to ensure that state-approved trainers who deliver required continuing education are content experts and have knowledge and expertise in adult learning. Individuals who deliver training on the states Early Learning and Development Guidelines and Executive Function must demonstrate competency with infants and toddlers. 
Washington began statewide implementation of Early Achievers, the states QRIS, in July 2012. Over 1,000 early learning facilities are currently participating. Some regions are intentionally connecting Early Achievers with their Infant/Toddler Child Care (I/T CC) Consultation Initiative, marketing I/T CC consultation as a readiness activity to prepare for participation in Early Achievers. I/T CC consultants work with licensed child care providers to help them support the needs of infants and toddlers.

Learn more about Washington and how other states are using RTT-ELC funds to strengthen their early childhood systems in ZERO TO THREEs papers:

How Are Early Learning Challenge Grant Targeting Infants and Toddlers: http://www.zerotothree.org/public-policy/elc-it-article-for-baby-monitor.pdf

The Early Learning Challenge Grant Is Helping States Better Serve Infants and Toddlers: http://www.zerotothree.org/policy/docs/elc-grant-update.pdf

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