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Early Learning Indiana’s Top 22 of 2022

This is Our Moment  

As we look forward to a new year, let’s take a moment to look back on the many highlights and accomplishments from 2022. The past few years have taught us countless lessons. The world now has a deeper understanding of the importance of high-quality early care and education. Like no time before – THIS IS OUR MOMENT.  

Here is how we made the most of every 2022 moment to…  

1. CAPTURE THE MOMENTUM   

Gov. Eric Holcomb appoints Early Learning Indiana (ELI) President and CEO Maureen Weber to chair the state’s Early Learning Advisory Committee (ELAC). Her leadership role comes as the state expands the committee’s duties with the Holcomb administration’s launch of an Office of Kindergarten Readiness at the Indiana Department of Education. ELAC works to ensure Hoosier children and their families have access to affordable, high-quality early childhood education programs. Learn more about ELAC.

2. ELEVATE OUR VOICE   

The sharing of ideas and best practices among early learning providers is a priority for ELI. In 2022, our team members presented at the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Professional Learning Institute, the Indiana Early Intervention Conference and Project Lead The Way Summit in Orlando. Learn About Our Solutions.

3. PARTNER ON CREATIVE SOLUTIONS 

The United Way of Central Indiana awarded ELI $250,000 to support ELI’s Early Learning Works initiative through its Family Opportunity Fund. The funding will help us partner with local employers to find creative solutions for expanding access to early learning services for their own team members or the surrounding community. The main goal of Early Learning Works is to ensure families can go to work and access high-quality child care. Learn More.

4. MAKE CONNECTIONS 

ELI’s external engagement team has been traveling to communities statewide, connecting with our partners and establishing new partnerships. In September, we created an Early Educator Experience at the Junior Achievement JobSpark career expo for over 10,000 eighth grade students. We guided participants to use the Day Early Learning (DEL) Teaching Environment Guidelines to make decisions about learning environments for their mock classroom — just like our teachers do every day. ELI also continues statewide engagement with partners and providers – visiting grantees as they open new seats, speaking with local economic development corporations and discussing child care benefit options with businesses. If you are interested in ELI  participating in your 2023 event or offering a presentation on an early learning topic, contact Natalie Brake.

5. CLOSE THE GAP 

ELI announced the Closing the Gap report update, which closely examines four factors comprising the Early Learning Access Index — capacity, quality, affordability and choice — with a focus on seeking solutions to address crucial local needs. To advance these local solutions, Early Learning Indiana, with generous support from Lilly Endowment Inc., provided over $1,000,000 in grants for communities to address their specific gaps in access to high-quality early learning programs. Click here to read the full report.

6. BUILD, LEARN, GROW 

ELI, in collaboration with the Indiana Afterschool Network, led the state-funded Build, Learn, Grow Scholarship program, providing over $68 million in financial support to help Indiana families access high-quality early childhood education and out-of-school care following the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 17,000 children and their families enrolled in the scholarship program, and more than 1,600 providers benefitted.

7. HELP FAMILIES FIND CARE  

Early Learning Indiana launched the new Early Learning Marketplace. This innovative site provides a profile for all Indiana early learning programs and allows families to search for programs within their target geography, filter based on their needs and claim available seats in real-time. The Early Learning Marketplace is supported by Early Learning Indiana, Lilly Endowment Inc. and the Indiana Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning.

8. SUPPORT FAMILIES  

Little learners thrive when they are healthy, happy and supported alongside their families. ELI coordinated the launch of the Family Resource Navigator approach, a two-generational framework that expands Indiana’s Child Care Resource and Referral (CCRR) Network services beyond child care referrals to include connections to organizations that meet families’ needs. Whether these needs are related to health and well-being, social supports or economic assets, CCRRs can now help families quickly find the help they need to thrive.

9. SHOWCASE THE DEL DIFFERENCE 

Day Early Learning is committed to the highest-quality care as well as fostering the best environment for children to learn and grow. Our center teams partner with our families to develop social skills and collaboration, build confidence, strengthen persistence and resilience, encourage expression and collaboration and ignite imagination. Watch this video to see how the DEL Difference comes to life in our centers every day.

10. GROW  

ELI grew the number of children we are able to serve across a total of 11 centers, as we opened the new Day Early Learning at Patty Jischke in West Lafayette and Day Early Learning at Manual on the south side of Indianapolis. 

11. BE STRONGER TOGETHER 

To support Indiana’s early care and education providers for the future, long-term solutions are necessary. ELI, with generous support from Lilly Endowment Inc., supported organizations with the development of regional shared service hubs that enable providers to improve their operations, and better focus their scarce time and resources on the business of learning. Two of these hubs presented learnings alongside national partners at the 2022 National Shared Services Conference.

12. SUPPORT PROVIDERS   

ELI engages with child care providers statewide to support their operational practices. Through participation in the Child Care Resource and Referral Network’s Child Care Provider Fairs, local coalition partner networking opportunities and a keynote address at the Montgomery County Early Learning Expo, ELI has shared best practices and new resources with hundreds of child care programs.

13. LEARN  

ELI supported early child care leaders by launching two professional development opportunities. The first opportunity is in partnership with the Oaks Academy and provides leadership training and a space for collaboration amongst local child care leaders. The second opportunity is in partnership with Harvard Graduate School of Education. In this program, early childhood educators across the state have been invited to earn a Certificate in Early Education Leadership (CEEL). The program will teach early education providers how to strengthen learning environments and foster quality improvement in early education programs. Help us support work like this throughout the state by donating here.

14. BUILD 

Day Early Learning classroom teams participated in our inaugural center-wide professional development day, made possible by the Gene and Rosemary Tanner Strengthening Teaching Fund. The day focused on building center teams’ professional practice to continue providing the best in early care and learning. The day included a morning all-team meeting, afternoon breakout sessions on topics like creating engaging classrooms and using the arts for learning, as well as time for teams to work together in their classrooms. We will do it again in February 2023. Learn more about our commitment to advancing early learning educators here.

15. MAKE IT MATTER 

Classroom experiences in key areas of math during the preschool years have a powerful impact on children’s school-entry math skills. With the right instructional resources, early childhood teachers can assess their students’ math knowledge and tailor their instruction to meet students’ needs. ELI offered child care programs an opportunity to participate in an effectiveness trial of a curriculum-neutral early math professional learning system, called Getting on Track Early for School Success (GoT).  the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago, an independent research institution, is conducting an effectiveness trial of GoT. Learn More.

16. RECOGNIZE EXCELLENCE

Every year, Early Learning Indiana recognizes one of our dedicated and deserving Day Early Learning teachers as the Tanner Teacher of the Year. Day after day, our passionate and caring teachers deliver high-quality early learning to the children in their care while instilling the essential skills young children need to thrive in kindergarten and beyond. The 2022 Tanner Teacher of the Year is Nina Woodbury, a toddler teacher at Day Early Learning Federal Building. To learn more about the Tanner Teacher of the Year award and this year’s winner, click here.

Additionally, the Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning (OECOSL) hosts a Provider Recognition Award program to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of Indiana child care providers. In 2022, five Day Early Learning teachers were recognized as Outstanding Educators.

17. PARTNER WITH PROVIDERS 

In partnership with the state, Early Learning Indiana developed a new Marketing Best Practices Guide. This new tool supplies providers with marketing tips and resources as they launch a new early care and education program. The guide provides resources on communication and marketing principles, public relations and advertising, social media and web tools. Providers are encouraged to choose the tactics meeting their most immediate business needs.

18. ENHANCE COMMUNICATION 

In our Day Early Learning classrooms, a lot happens in a day and we’re committed to partnering with families to help empower children with the essential skills to thrive in kindergarten and beyond. A key to the success of this partnership is providing families with timely and informative communication. The new Day Early Learning (DEL) Family Hub app, powered by LineLeader and made possible in part by the Day Nursery Auxiliary, began launching at our Indianapolis DEL centers to strengthen the connection between families and teachers.

19. CREATE 

Thanks to the generous funding from the Indiana Arts Commission, Early Learning Indiana partnered with Arts for Learning for a series of creative family engagement events. Using grant funding, we hosted art events at our Indianapolis Day Early Learning centers. Each family was able to create a piece of art with their child(ren), and the Arts for Learning artists used them to create permanent installations in each center. Take a look at the photo gallery here.

20. SERVE 

With COVID-19 restrictions lessening, we reopened our doors to volunteers. Early Learning Indiana’s fourth annual Day of Impact, presented by The Hagerman Group, was our most successful yet! Thanks to the generosity of many, we raised more than $60,000 and welcome 80 community volunteers across our 11 Day Early Learning centers. Check out the photo gallery to see the lasting impact.

21. WELCOME 

We were also thrilled to, once again, welcome our Day Nursery Auxiliary volunteers back to our centers. Auxiliary volunteers joined in classroom activities, completed prep work, organized art supplies, refreshed lending libraries and so much more. The Day Nursery Auxiliary also hosted their 34th annual Style Show, celebrating Early Learning Indiana’s expanded footprint to serve our youngest learners. This year’s event set a new fundraising record! These funds will benefit our Day Early Learning centers and families. Learn more about the Auxiliary.

22. GIFT UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCES  

What. A. Year. Join us in our final moment to give and help us start the new year stronger than ever. You can make unforgettable experiences possible for our Day Early Learning children when you make a gift in support of an enhanced and equitable 2023 Enrichment Program Series – providing memories and skills that will last a lifetime. Watch our video and consider the impact your gift will make.

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