The New Haven Early Childhood Council was formed in 1997 under state statute to
increase local community involvement in decisions about early care and education.
Council representation draws upon New Haven’s long history of parent and community
engagement in issues of education and family development and brings together
community members who share a desire to improve the lives of young children and
their families. In 2002, the Council expanded its focus based on the recommendations from the Mayor’s Task Force on Universal Access to Early Care and Education.
In 2008/2009 the Council, with support from the Graustein Memorial Fund, state and
local government and philanthropy, developed its long-term strategic plan. The Plan is a
roadmap for our community to help us create the opportunities, supports and
experiences that young children need to reach their full potential. New Haven’s Early
Childhood Plan builds on what we know about the importance of the early childhood
years, taps the skills and experience of our large corps of dedicated early childhood
professionals and advocates, and lays out what we must do to enable New Haven’s
families and youngest children to succeed in getting ready for school and life.
The mission of the New Haven Early Childhood Council is to ensure that all New Haven
children birth through eight have access to a quality, affordable early care education
and that they are healthy, safe, thriving in nurturing families and prepared to be
successful lifelong learners.
Council Goals and Activities
The Council works to:
Increase the quantity and quality of early care and education in New Haven and
support an early care and education system that serves over 3,000 children in
various center-based and family childcare settings. The Council aims to provide a
variety of supports (training, consultation, resources and materials,) to help teachers
and caregivers better understand child development and how children learn so they
can offer the very best learning opportunities to prepare children for success in
Kindergarten and beyond.
Raise public awareness of and support for early care and education. The Council and
its Family Engagement and Health committee’s are working to raise public
awareness about the importance of the early learning years and ensure that all
families have access to information about child development, medical home, and
about how to register early for a center-based and family childcare.
The New Haven Early Childhood Plan
The New Haven Early Childhood Council’s Plan is a roadmap for our community to help
us create the opportunities, supports, and experiences that young children need to
reach their full potential. The Council began developing the Plan in 2007 when Mayor
John DeStefano appointed a diverse 46-member Leadership Work Group of early
childhood educators, service providers and community leaders to guide the community
in the planning process.
A New Haven Early Childhood Plan task Force was formed to encourage community
input. Task Force meetings involved more than 130 participants including parents,
educators, health care providers and representatives of family support, government and
non-profit organizations. The Task Force organized members in three committees: 1)
Early Care and Education, 2) Family Engagement and Health.
The Plan development process drew on a long history of parent and community
engagement in issues of education and family development in New Haven, and called
upon New Haven’s unique wealth of professional expertise and community knowledge.
In 2012, the Council began the process of refining its plan. The overall theme of the
Council’s plan refinement is to ensure that the Council can play a central role in all early
childhood efforts in New Haven. The Plan refinement is a shift from three separate and
distinct planks; early care and education, family engagement and health to a focus on
four key areas, that weaves the needs of families and the health of families within the
four focus areas. The Plan refinement recognizes that children and families are central
to the strategies and actions taken:
1. Universal Access. Universal access to early learning / early childhood
opportunities and ongoing engagement of families in these opportunities.
For example, develop a seamless process for accessing public pre-school
2. Quality Experience. While programs will vary in their specific activities,
promote universal positive, quality early learning experiences in all settings
(home, family child care, center, community). ECE program components
include literacy, joyful adult-child interactions, the learning environment, and
workforce development for educators.
3. Kindergarten Transition and Success. Positive and successful transition to
Kindergarten and success in the primary grades.
4. Evidence / Messaging. Assessing the impact of early childhood efforts, and
communicating the Council’s plans and accomplishments widely to the
community (e.g., revised Plan and Report Card).
Projects to improve the quality of the early childhood experience:
ABC’s of School Readiness
The Little Read is an annual early childhood initiative that focuses on the
importance of reading to young children, birth through 5 years. The Council
partner’s with early childhood programs, and distributes over 4,500 copies of
quality picture book to children enrolled in early childhood and licensed family
childcare programs. Book selections have included, “Wherever we are”, “Read
to Me”, Eric Carle’s “The Very Hungry. Each early childhood program organizes
an innovative and fun family reading event to celebrate the Week of the Young
Child and to highlight the importance of literacy for our youngest children.
Curriculum boxes: Over 55 literacy-based curriculum boxes are distributed
annually during the Week of the Young Child to early childhood and licensed
family childcare programs throughout New Haven. Curriculum boxes come
complete with a rich array of quality picture books, learning materials and props
related to the books. Quality picture books and props provide opportunities for
teachers to extend the reading through play, while helping to develop
vocabulary and language skills among the children. Each box includes seven –
eight picture books, finger puppets, stuffed toys and learning props to encourage
children to talk, play and read throughout their day. Past themes have included
Eric Carle books and props, Exercise and Nutrition, Cultures and Feeling.
All Our Kin Toolkit Project
The New Haven Early Childhood Council supports the Toolkit Licensing
Project, a program of “All Our Kin” (AOK). AOK helps unlicensed and illegal
caregivers meet health and safety standards, complete state licensing
requirements, and become part of the professional community of child care
providers. In this way, both the availability and the quality of care for New
Haven’s most vulnerable infants and toddlers are expanded and improved.
The Early Care and Education Committee host a series of professional
development workshops for early childhood educators. Workshops have
included 1) The importance of the early childhood learning environment, 2)
Block Play, 3) “Sharing Across the City” an opportunity for early childhood
educators to visit other early childhood programs and observe effective teach
strategies and share classroom management ideas, 4) Puppet Play, 5) Reflective
Supervision for Directors
Week of the Young Child
During the Week of the Young Child, the NHECC partners, with community-based
organizations that host an array of literacy-based events throughout the City.
Children and families will share their love of reading by participating in readings
at the CitySeed farmers’ market, the Leitner Family Planetarium at Yale, the
Edgewood Park Nature Pals Play Group, a children’s art exhibit at Gateway
Community College, a New Haven Symphony Orchestra performance at the New
Haven Free Public Library, a Creating Musical Readers program at the
Connecticut Children’s Museum and a building project at the Eli Whitney
Museum. At each of these sites, children are given a new, theme-related
children’s picture book to extend the learning, support emerging readers and to
help build family libraries.
Projects to engage families and provide them with the information they need to
support their child’s efforts to be ready for school
The NHECC Family Events and Program Calendar
A bi-monthly listserve, is circulated by email, to inform families about early
childhood programs and registration, links to NHPS calendar of events and school
registration and fun family events. Both parents and organizations may access
this bi-monthly early childhood calendar of events by signing up to receiving the
Community Messenger Project
In collaboration with Partner Organizations, the Family Engagement committee
identifies and trains parent leaders to be neighborhood early childhood
messengers. Training includes information about preschool registration; NHPS
kindergarten registration, parent resources, including NHFPL, afterschool care,
health resources and more
Help Me Grow Networking Breakfast
In collaboration with the Children’s Trust Network, monthly Help Me Grow
networking breakfast help inform community-based organizations serving
families, about early care and education, family support and behavioral health
opportunities and resources for children and their families
Week of the Young Child
Annually during the Week of the Young Child, Family Engagement partner
organizations in collaboration with early childhood programs throughout the city,
host an array of literacy-based events. Children and families share their love of
reading by participating in readings at a number of community-based
organizations including, Fair Haven Community Health Center, 4’C’s, New Haven
Health Department and the Department of Social Services. Children are given a
copy of the chosen children’s picture book to extend the learning at home and to
help build family libraries.
All meetings of the New Haven Early Childhood Council are open to the public and the public is strongly encouraged to participate
New Haven Early Childhood Council Meetings:
When: First Wednesday of each month
Location: United Way of Greater New Haven, 360 James Street, 4th Floor
Time: 3:00 – 5:00
Members of the public are welcome and encouraged to attend. If you would like to
become an Early Childhood Council member, join a committee, or would like more
information, please contact: Yury Maciel-Andrews
203-627-7690 | firstname.lastname@example.org