In 2019, Start Early (formerly known as the Ounce), the Center for the Study of Social Policy and Early Opportunities hosted the Harnessing Community Momentum Convening, which brought together early childhood leaders from across the country to discuss the urgent need for better collaboration and real-time connection across the early childhood field. As a result of the convening, work began to co-create a suite of essential tools for the early childhood movement, including the development of an online community: Early Childhood Connector.
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To build the original version of Early Childhood Connector, state and national partners gathered to establish a shared vision for the design of this online community. More than 40 local, state and national partners gathered to establish a shared vision for the design of this online community. The goal was to create a public good — a space that promotes meaningful connections to peers and experts, access to knowledge and ways to capture, curate, and share knowledge in real time.
When the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, Start Early recognized that the need for real-time connection and collaboration across the field was even more urgent. Early childhood partners needed a place to navigate the implications of the global health crisis together. To support this, Start Early as the sponsoring organization for Early Childhood Connector led the launch of the initial platform months ahead of schedule.
Early Childhood Connector quickly brought together early childhood partners in a simple, judgement-free online community to connect with each other, share ideas, curate best practices and elevate work happening at the local, state, and national level in response to the COVID-19 crisis. The group provided a neutral location to host the most up-to-date COVID-19 resources and information including emerging community, state and national strategies.