When the reality of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was clear many months ago, Start Early and our partners quickly pivoted to support our youngest learners virtually, and we’re continuing to innovate and evolve to ensure our most vulnerable children and families don’t get left behind as the pandemic stretches on.
One of our strongest partnerships is with the Educare Learning Network. In 2000, Start Early developed the first Educare school in Chicago to provide high-quality care, education, and a stimulating learning environment for children birth to age 5. Since then, we have partnered to create 24 Educare schools across the country to provide children in under-resourced communities with quality early learning experiences. In accordance with CDC recommendations, 22 of the 24 operating schools within the Educare Learning Network are currently closed, with 2 schools having reopened to provide essential services at a reduced capacity. But that does not mean our early learning programs have stopped. From online lesson plans to reading and singing sessions via Facebook Lives, our educators are helping to ensure children and families have the resources they need during these challenging times.