Call to Action

Join us in the work of transformation.

Transformation of the early childhood system is unlikely to come as a single decision or sweeping policy change. Instead, it will be the cumulative result of many choices of early childhood leaders to affirm the right of all young children to thrive and to take strategic action to challenge a system that was built for inequity.


This playbook is for all of us. It offers guidance for those ready to take action by making those choices in their spheres of influence—concrete steps that can be taken at the national, state, and local levels toward meaningful change within the current structures that govern and define the early childhood system. It extends an invitation to join together in the work of transformation—of ourselves, of the choices we make, and of the early childhood spaces we influence every day.


The following is a synthesis of the opportunities for concrete, meaningful action that local early childhood communities have brought to light within the chapters of this playbook.

Setting Young Children on a Path to Success

Overcoming the historical, sociocultural, and political barriers that exclude Black, Indigenous, Latine, and other children of color

Together, we must . . .

  • Work within the confines of our current system by reallocating existing funding to address access gaps
  • Address the ways in which current policies and practices have created barriers to equitably building the supply of ECE settings in keeping with the growing demand
  • Promote community-based collective impact initiatives that place ECE within a web of child and family supports

Where Early Childhood Education Meets Race and Culture

Forging pathways for culturally responsive education in ECE settings

Together, we must . . .

  • Recruit, hire, and retain ECE teachers and leaders who reflect the diversity of children and families served
  • Apply strategies to reduce bias and honor diversity as a central part of culturally responsive education practices and policies in ECE settings
  • Learn about and expand the use of promising curricula and effective practices that are defined by and for racially, culturally, and linguistically minoritized communities
  • Increase resources to foster learning environments that embrace linguistic diversity, expand professional development focused on DLL children, and improve family engagement practices and policies to be supportive of multilingualism
  • Forge systemic pathways to ECE teacher preparation, practices, and evaluative measures that affirm children of color and DLL children

Authentic Partnership for Meaningful Change

Centering families and communities in program and systems design

Together, we must . . .

  • Embed equity-informed family engagement professional learning, along with guidance and resources to support current and emerging best practices, within program monitoring and improvement systems
  • Include equity-informed family engagement considerations as a foundation of current and future systems-building efforts—and leverage these initiatives to expand pathways to more meaningful partnership between families and systems leaders
  • Seek opportunities to meaningfully include families in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of initiatives, and value their input enough to make substantive change

Honoring the “Workforce Behind the Workforce”

Pursuing recognition and equity for those who teach and care for young children

Together, we must . . .

  • Recognize and message the impacts of ECE teacher characteristics and practices that create caring and supportive early learning contexts for children prior to kindergarten
  • Ensure that all members of the ECE workforce are compensated and supported such that the ECE field is experienced as a viable, long-term profession
  • Create clear pathways to leadership, policy, and advocacy spaces that are accessible to women of color, particularly those women who are currently practitioners in the field, working directly with children and families

Telling a More Hopeful Story

Deconstructing early childhood research and data practices to tell the truth about the system and the potential of young children

Together, we must . . .

  • Advance community-based participatory research involving partnership between research institutions and communities to address community priorities for ECE through collaborative research
  • Reduce bias and injustice in the ECE data collection and analysis processes
  • Create a relationship with research and data that is grounded in truth and centers the interests of young children and families

Reflecting and action planning

Change starts with reflection. Want to take action, but don’t know where to start? Use the tool from the playbook to reflect on how you can take steps towards meaningful change. This tool combines all the reflection provocations alongside the guidance and considerations for action from the playbook chapters. We hope that you find this helpful as you take steps to advance equity in the early childhood system.