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Blog | | Early Edge California

Early Edge Hosts Fourth Advisory Group Leadership Council Meeting

As part of our strategic objectives around community and partner engagement, Early Edge California created an Advisory Group Leadership Council in May 2022. The Leadership Council Ambassadors are lead participants from our Educator, Parent, and Family, Friend and Neighbor (FFN) Provider Advisory Groups, providing opportunities for deeper collaboration and impact. Ambassadors represent their respective advisory group, serving as a liaison between advisory group members and Early Edge. 

The Leadership Council convened in its first meeting of the year via Zoom on January 30, 2023, and was hosted in English and Spanish, thanks to the support of a simultaneous interpreter. Early Edge kicked off the meeting by sharing key takeaways from Governor Newsom’s 2023-24 budget proposal along with timely policy updates, providing an opportunity for Ambassadors to ask questions or to learn more about the overall process. 

Following the budget and legislative updates from Early Edge, the majority of the meeting focused on facilitated group discussions to learn about the most pressing issues or concerns that were coming up for participants, and to receive guidance on topics to discuss with all three of our stakeholder advisory groups. 

The following themes emerged from the group discussions with the Leadership Council Ambassadors:

  • The need for accessible resources: Participants raised the importance of having access to resources across all three groups: educators, parents, and FFNs. In particular, access to trainings was top of mind for the group, with a few Ambassadors sharing the need for more support for FFNs.
  • Clear communication from the state/programs: Relatedly, participants shared the need for information about statewide initiatives and programs to be shared more broadly across the state.
  • Supports for children: As we continue to emerge from the height of the pandemic, the need to have timely supports for children has come up during our stakeholder advisory group meetings. In particular, a participant shared needing specific programs or assessments for neurodiverse learners.
  • Supports for the Early Learning and Care workforce: Last but not least, Ambassadors highlighted the continuing challenges for the workforce related to staffing and pay.

The Ambassadors agreed that the following topics are top priorities and should be raised as discussion items during the next rounds of Early Edge’s Educator, Parent, and FFN Advisory Group meetings: 

  • ECE workforce retention: How do we recruit and retain educators? What’s the roadmap?
  • Need for trauma-informed/mental health supports and training: What do educators need to be able to care for kids dealing with trauma? What mental health supports are needed for kids, parents, and, educators?

The Early Edge team is planning for the upcoming stakeholder advisory group meetings, and will incorporate these topics into the discussion. In the meantime, we are grateful for the timely feedback and guidance from the Leadership Council Ambassadors. The group will meet again in late spring, and will continue to be instrumental in planning for future advisory group meetings and informing our advocacy priorities for the year.

Early Edge looks forward to continuing to strengthen and grow its model for connecting policy and practice through key efforts like the Advisory Group Leadership Council, recognizing and highlighting the expertise and commitment for quality Early Learning within our community. For more information about the Leadership Council, please visit our Advisory Groups webpage.

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