ECCLA works to ensure that every child in Colorado has a strong start in life. We believe that strong families and communities, access to comprehensive physical and mental health care, and high quality early care and learning opportunities help ensure every child can reach his or her full potential. ECCLA is the membership association for Colorado's network of 35 community-based Early Childhood Councils that reaches all 64 counties. This statewide network of locally organized Councils is responsible for improving and sustaining the quality, availability, capacity, and accessibility of early childhood services for children and families in local communities.
Our work is critical because the earliest years of a child's life are uniquely important--this is the most sensitive period for brain development. The experiences a child has during this time will shape the architecture of the brain and build connections that contribute to lifelong skills like problem solving, communication, self control, and relationship building. These skills provide a strong foundation and support children to thrive within their family, community, and culture. Safe environments, protective and loving relationships, and access to care all foster healthy development. Early investment in the health and well-being of Colorado's youngest children leads to healthy thriving adults who contribute to a thriving Colorado.
Colorado is both fortunate and unique to have local Early Childhood Councils that focus on increasing the quality of early care and learning programs and environments; expanding family resources and skills; and ensuring access to social, physical, and mental health services for young children. Councils increase the effectiveness of early childhood professionals with training, coaching, and resources, which, in turn, helps children be prepared for kindergarten. Significantly, Councils are committed to closing the achievement gap for children who face multiple barriers, including those living in low-income families, by increasing the number and percentage of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers enrolled in high quality early care and learning programs.