Child Care Aware® of America and Voices for Healthy Kids have developed the new Early Care and Education Grassroots Ambassador Toolkit. The toolkit is designed to help prospective early care and education (ECE) campaigns genuinely engage the ECE community and cultivate providers and families as campaign champions. Learn more about this exciting new resource! 

Few people understand the early care and education (ECE) landscape better than those who are caring for children every day. Families and ECE providers have a lot to gain by creating healthier ECE settings. They also face competing needs and concerns that can push topics like nutrition, active play and screen time lower on their priority lists. It doesn’t mean that families and providers don’t care about healthy eating and active play. It does mean that groups advocating for changes to ECE policy need to take time to listen to their ideas, opinions and concerns.

The best way to connect with ECE providers and families is to partner with the organizations that they already trust for information and support. If these organizations aren’t currently involved in your campaign coalition, they probably should be. To help you connect with the ECE community, the toolkit includes:

  • Descriptions of the organizations and departments the ECE community relies on—folks you should connect with to build a strong, diverse ECE coalition
  • Suggestions for ways to engage the ECE community as advocates and leaders.
  • Messaging tips to help you connect with the community and build buy-in

One of the most important steps an ECE campaign can take is to listen to the experts — the ECE program directors, teachers and other staff who work with children. These are the people who will be responsible for putting new policies into practice, yet their voices are often left out of policy decisions. To help you listen and learn from ECE providers and families, the toolkit has:

  • Tips for how to conduct provider focus groups and needs assessment surveys
  • Sample focus group guides
  • A needs assessment survey template

While ECE providers and families are experts when it comes to caring for children, they may not be policy wonks. Campaign language that is full of jargon can feel exclusive and isolating to a passionate advocate who isn’t familiar with state government systems. To help you make your campaign more accessible to new advocates, the toolkit includes:

  • An advocacy myth buster
  • Simple advocacy activities and storytelling tools
  • Plain language descriptions of state policy processes and terms

To explore the Early Care and Education Grassroots Ambassador Toolkit and learn more about how to build a successful ECE campaign, visit Building Blocks: Early Care and Education.