Voices in harmony

Advocates for early childhood are becoming much more effective in the public policy arena. Best Beginnings is proud to be part of the Alaska Early Childhood Public Policy Group, which includes thread, Alaska Head Start Association, the Alaska Infant Learning Professional Association, and Alaska AEYC.

Broad-based, grassroots support gets the credit for what looks to have been a very successful legislative session for early childhood.

As the main article in this issue describes, the legislature increased support for Denali KidCare, Best Beginnings’ work on Imagination Library and early childhood partnerships, and other programs that support young children and their families. We’re hopeful that Governor Parnell will agree and keep these programs in the budget.

There is no question that advocates for early childhood are becoming much more effective in the public policy arena. In these past two legislative sessions, the Alaska Early Childhood Public Policy Group has presented a united front, speaking with one voice and mobilizing grassroots support. Best Beginnings is proud to be part of the group, which includes thread, Alaska Head Start Association, the Alaska Infant Learning Professional Association, and Alaska AEYC.

“As a process, we were stronger than ever before,” said Joy Lyon of Alaska AEYC. “We had many voices from all over. I don’t know if we were singing in unison, but at the very least we were in harmony.”

To me, there are obvious parallels between the Alaska Early Childhood Public Policy Group and the early childhood partnerships fostered and supported by Best Beginnings in communities around the state.

Both comprise people or organizations with specific interests, willing to seek and work for common ground. Members of the Public Policy Group and early childhood partnerships realize that individual programs don’t stand alone. The rising tide of public awareness about the importance of early childhood raises all our boats.

We all have a long way to go before Alaska has the effective, coordinated statewide systems that are integral to giving all children the best shot at success in school and in life. But we’re on the right path – and every once in a while, one can get a glimpse of the cultural shift that will signal success.

Best,

Abbe