Early Learning Nation

City leaders are well-positioned to champion the needs of children and families and create communities that help all children achieve their full potential. In 2015, the National League of Cities (NLC) partnered with the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) to launch City Leadership for Building an Early Learning Nation (ELN) to support local officials in developing and strengthening early childhood systems to ensure that young children in our cities grow up safe, healthy and ready to learn.

NLC and CSSP are working with two networks of communities to foster continued learning and growth as they build early learning systems. NLC established a network of seven cities in July 2015 as a part of the initiative, and CSSP convened ten communities in 2014 in Early Childhood-LINC (Learning and Innovation Network for Communities). NLC individually helps each city to improve early learning systems including information about the latest research and promising practices; assistance with developing and implementing local plans; and connections to national experts and resources.

In 2016, NLC and CSSP developed a framework called Early Learning Communities: Building Blocks for Success, which outlines a vision of communities where all children learn and thrive. Using the Building Blocks as a foundation, CSSP and NLC have developed an Early Learning Community Action Guide that will help communities take action to become Early Learning Communities.

Currently, the communities are piloting the Early Learning Community Action Guide to test the proposed actions and how communities can use the guide. Following the pilot phase, NLC and CSSP will refine the guide based on community recommendation and then release it to the public so other communities can join ELN. This project is made possible by generous support from the Bezos Family Foundation.