We strive to advance changes in the early learning system that centers positive relationships and outcomes for our youngest learners, including but not limited to those with disabilities, those whose families have moved to the U.S. under duress, those whose families are currently low-income, and others who have been historically marginalized.
Our mission is to eliminate inequities, decolonize the early learning sector, and co-create systems where Black, Indigenous, and all children, families, providers, and communities of color can flourish.
Centering Voices: We center black, indigenous, and communities of color as they are the voices of our providers’ and families’ experiences. We rather do WITH rather than FOR groups that have been marginalized or left out of decision-making.
Commitment to Equity: The risk factor is not “race” – it’s the white supremacy, racism, and racist systems that create the risk factors for BIPOC children, families, and early learning professionals. Early learning professionals need and deserve living wages including benefits, in recognition of their professional role as our children’s first educators, preparing them for kindergarten and beyond.
Honoring Children and Families: Families need stability and support that our systems historically have not sought to provide—power dynamics from state organizations are harmful to our communities; we can model and demand a different approach. There are many right and beautiful ways to raise children, to be a family, and to form a community. It is time our systems believe, appreciate and support this truth.
Stand Up: Decolonization, openness to community/coalition-centered actions and needs that may fall outside of the previously established norms. We may do something that is “not by the book” but we will do it with respect, open and clear communication and collaboration, and agreement.
KCELC was first convened by SOAR in 2004 through a partnership with United Way. The alliance was made up of community members, organizational partners, funders, and others to improve service access, build community capacity, and eliminate inequities within the early learning system. In 2016 and 2017, the KCELC worked with nine other regional coalitions across the state to create a new statewide network, Washington Communities for Children (WCFC), in which communities intentionally share learnings, leadership, and resources. As Due to capacity, SOAR stepped back and BrightSpark was asked to convene the KCELC in 2021. Under a new host agency, KCELC continues the state-wide work with WCFC, and supports the further engagement of families, providers, caregivers, and all other early learning contributors across King County.