Donate

Denver's Early Childhood Council

Empower teachers. Support innovation. Shape the future. Your donation helps equip child care providers with the foundational tools they need to ensure all children receive high quality child care and early learning experiences along with competent, compassionate social emotional support.

More Information

Fundraising Pages

Want to do more for your favorite charity? We’ve made it easy for you to raise money by creating a personalized fundraising page.

Start a fundraiser Current fundraisers for this charity (0)

Quality Initiatives

Class

Education 

Beneficiaries

Infants/Babies (under age 5)
Infants/Young Children (birth - 3 years)
Parents
Poor, Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent
Teachers

Description

The Council develops and leads Quality Initiatives (QI) in Denver's early learning sector. These initiatives enhance both the availability and the quality of early childhood care and education in Denver, ultimately improving children's school readiness and child outcomes by coordinating targeted resources to early care and education providers such as onsite coaching, training, quality learning materials, technology, professional development, and technical assistance.

The Council is a contracted provider of coaching and quality administration services for the Denver Preschool Program (DPP) and Colorado Department of Human Services Office of Early Childhood. The quality initiatives serve over 400 licensed early care and education programs. Early care and education providers participating in the Council's quality initiatives participate in the Colorado Shines Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS). The quality rating helps ensure that investments are targeting child care needs in Denver communities in addition to impacting quality and child outcomes.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

62% of eligible Denver child care/early learning programs are engaged in the state's quality improvement and rating (Colorado Shines) system by accessing Quality Improvement resources, achieving a Level 2 (out of 5 levels) Colorado Shines quality rating or higher. This includes licensed child care centers, licensed family child care homes, public school ECE programs.

Our Quality Coaching and Business Services staff and contractors pivoted quickly to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in the end of Q3 and focused all attention during Q4 on supporting providers in this new reality, both on the health & safety front, and in helping with business viability support. Some examples of this support include:

-Coordinated free PPE and cleaning supply curbside pick-up and delivery for providers that stayed open to support essential service workers in the early stages of the pandemic (in partnership with the Office of Early Childhood and Mile High United Way

-Created and delivered a webinar for DPP providers on how to project funding based on child attendance

-Created a decision-making framework tool (with LAUNCH Together Southwest Denver) for providers who shut down on when and how to re-open in the midst of the pandemic

-Created a health & safety checklist for parents returning children to child care





Systems Building/Child Health & Well-Being

Class

Education 

Beneficiaries

Children birth to age 3
Families
Infants/Babies (under age 5)
Poor/Economically Disadvantaged
Teachers

Description

Early Childhood Systems Building includes efforts around increasing availability, quality, and accessibility of services for children and families and increasing the capacity of early learning providers. This is accomplished through public will building, fostering strategic learning and collaboration, and system-wide data analysis to build the foundations of a thriving early childhood system in Denver.

The Council works strategically with community, nonprofit, governmental, foundation, and corporate partners to align policies and create more accessible, affordable, equitable, and culturally responsive early childhood services.

Examples of program activities include hosting monthly policy and program task force groups, convening home visitation partners, supporting implementation of the Denver Public Schools Road to Reading, participation on local policy advisory groups (such as the Denver Human Services Welfare Reform Board, Kinship 2GO Program Advisory Council, and the Denver Children's Cabinet), and participation in state-wide and national early childhood leadership coalitions (such as EC-LINC and the Pritzker Children's Initiative National Collaborative for Infants and Toddlers). Unique to 2020 was participation in Denver's 0-5 Complete Count subcommittee for the 2020 Census.

With significant implementation experience and a broad level of engagement, staff members are frequently called upon to participate in policy efforts at the State Capitol, advisory committees, strategic programmatic planning for state and local funding partners, and other advocacy efforts with statewide implications. In addition to the tracking of successful policy implementation/change, evaluation indicators also include signed cooperative agreements and MOUs with local governmental and service partners (including an active annual agreement with the Denver Department of Human Services and with with the Mayor's Office of Children's Affairs).

The Council continues to serve as lead partner for LAUNCH Together, a child health & well-being collaborative funded by eight foundations. In close partnership with Denver Public Health, Denver Children's Advocacy Center, and the Mental Health Center of Denver, this four-year grant focuses on building a coordinated system of trauma-informed organizations and social-emotional supports for young children birth-to-5 years old in targeted high needs neighborhoods, particularly in Southwest Denver.



Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

LAUNCH Together continued to make an impact in Southwest Denver with the following activities:
-Hundreds of early care & education providers, primary health care providers, and parents completed training on social & emotional well-being and behavioral health of young children and families.
-Mental health consultants/clinicians and ECE quality coaches were deployed on-site in early care and education setting to address challenging behaviors.
-Council staff created a Community of Practice and Social Emotional Resource Library to strengthen and embed social emotional coaching and training capacity across the Quality Coach team.
-Distributed more than 500 bags of books and learning materials to young children in Southwest Denver after child care providers closed in-person services during the spring/summer of the COVID-19 pandemic.




Career Pathways/Professional Development

Class

Education 

Beneficiaries

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)
Children birth to age 3
Families
Infants/Babies (under age 5)
Teachers

Description

One of the most critical driving factors for positive early childhood outcomes and school readiness is the presence of early childhood professionals who provide emotionally supportive environments and language-rich interactions for young children. The Council offers a wide range of training and education resources for professionals who care for children, including trainings focused on child development, health/safety practices, social-emotional support, quality improvement, and many more topics tied to workforce competencies. Career Pathways embraces the values of being community-informed and responsive to current needs and hot topics.

Career Pathways takes a diversified, holistic approach to professional development, meeting each professional where they are and connecting them to career advice and resources to deepen their knowledge and strengthen their teaching practices no matter where they are on their early childhood career path. From opportunities to join professional learning communities, deep-dive series trainings, and access content related to key pre-service and best practices, professionals have the opportunity to engage in a variety of learning formats that best meet their needs.

Career Pathways is increasingly focusing attention and strategies aligned to educator wellness and responsive social emotional early learning. The Council's offerings in social emotional coaching and training topics is strategically growing. The creation of the Early Childhood Mental Health Warm Line, in partnership with the Mental Health Center of Denver, is building awareness and connecting professionals to early childhood mental health consultants. This exciting new resource in Denver will not only respond to current COVID-19 trauma needs, but also enhance Denver's early childhood collaborative system.

Career Pathways has strong relationships with partner organizations in higher education, family resource centers, libraries, and workforce development. These connections strengthen the additional wrap around supports that ensure an engaged and committed early childhood workforce.




Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

Other measures:
More than 3800 Denver-based early childhood professionals earned or increased their credential level issued by the Colorado Shines Professional Development Information System in fiscal year 2019-20.

Early childhood professionals earning or increasing a credential increased 16% over the course of the 2019-20 fiscal year.

911 unique individuals attended over 881 hours of training hosted by the Council in fiscal year 2019-20.

The Rocky Mountain Early Childhood Conference, which was canceled 48 hours before the event due to COVID-19 turned out 2,041 training clock hours to 472 early childhood professionals via online sessions, with an average rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars from participants.

Key aspects of this profile information have been reviewed by Community First Foundation staff. Each organization is exclusively responsible for the content that appears on the profile page. Community First Foundation offers general guidance as to the purpose of each area but does not require or encourage charities to include anything in particular in each section.