Our Early Childhood Education initiative helps ensure children have high-quality early learning experiences that help them succeed in school and in life.
The years between birth and age 5 are critical for brain development, and how parents and others interact with children during this time makes a difference in their future learning, behavior, and health. Nurturing, supportive relationships impact children’s academic and emotional well-being in the short and long-term.
First 5 Contra Costa offers powerful professional development learning opportunities for early educators, supports continuous program quality improvement, and works to strengthen the systems that support early learning programs, including the workforce.
First 5 Contra Costa works with several partners to offer early educators a variety of training, coaching, and learning opportunities to enhance the quality of their programs. Some of these opportunities focus specifically on center-based programs, family child care programs, and informal caregivers such as family, friends and neighbors.
The Quality Matters program provides a framework, standards, and learning opportunities for early educators to continually enhance the quality of their practice. Through the Professional Development Program recipients receive stipends for courses and degree attainment. The Family Child Care Partner Program, offers peer coaching and quality supports designed to meet the needs of family child care providers.
First 5 Contra Costa partners with organizations in East County on this multi-layered effort to reform the systems and services available to African American and Black families with children under 5 with an emphasis on school readiness.
The effort includes working to enhance the capacity of early childhood systems, enhancing the skills and awareness of service providers, and empowering parents and caregivers to be change agents.
Effective early learning educators are essential to providing children with a high-quality early learning experience. Educators need to have a foundational knowledge of child development and be able to facilitate activities that promote children’s learning.
Low wages and lack of benefits have created a shortage of early learning educators, and impeded efforts to recruit new teachers. First 5 Contra Costa works with partners, including the Early Learning Leadership Group, to better understand and respond to the county’s early learning educator workforce crisis.