Our Approach

Start Early applies our deep expertise in program, policy and research to optimize and scale our work, a comprehensive approach that helps us have the greatest impact for children, families and educators.

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We focus solely on the first years of a child’s life — starting even before birth — to have the most significant impact on children and families, especially those living in under-resourced communities.

For nearly 40 years, we have worked directly with children and parents, providing doula and home visiting services and quality center-based care that ensures children are ready to transition to kindergarten.

We began as a public-private partnership and continue to use this model to scale innovation and proven program models. We share our research and lessons through program delivery, professional development and policy and advocacy partnerships at local, state and federal levels to ensure all children have access to quality, equitable early learning opportunities.

We foster collaboration and innovation within our organization, with our partners and with families to help give everyone a voice at the table.

Our Approach in Action

Program Delivery

Baby learning at Educare Chicago

In 2000, we developed the first Educare school to serve children from birth to age 5 and their families living on the south side of Chicago. Since then, we have partnered with diverse communities and early childhood champions to build a national network of Educare schools and improve access to quality early learning and care across the country.

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We continuously improve the Educare model with research, tracking program quality and child outcomes through the Educare Implementation Study. Several years of rigorous evaluation show that when children leave Educare for elementary school, the majority are academically, socially and emotionally prepared for kindergarten.

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Professional Development

Child and teacher high fivingTo bring the Educare model to even more under-resourced communities, we developed a training program for educators based on our learning and research. The Essential Practices by Educare provide practical instruction to center-based and school-based programs on how to improve their programs and deliver stronger outcomes for children and families.

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We support early childhood providers nationwide through an innovative, federally funded, locally run program: Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships. These providers, who otherwise may not have the funds to deliver high-quality programming, leverage and blend resources to improve quality practice and better support strong outcomes for our nation’s youngest learners. To date, 13 Educare schools across the country administer these grants to early childhood centers in their communities.

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