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Resources | | Early Edge California

Master Plan for Early Learning and Care: Key Recommendations

The Master Plan for Early Learning and Care (MPELC) was released on December 1, 2020 by the California Health and Human Services Agency. It was commissioned by Governor Gavin Newsom in 2019, and was developed by a team of experts that, with oversight from the Early Childhood Policy Council (ECPC), assessed Early Learning research and data as well as input gathered from Early Learning stakeholders across the state. Early Edge California’s Executive Director Patricia Lozano is a member of the Parent Advisory Committee for the ECPC and was an external contributor to the Master Plan. She also contributed, alongside Sr. Policy Analyst Carolyne Crolotte, to the knowledge brief, Promoting Equitable Early Learning and Care for Dual Language Learners, featured on the Equitable Treatment of Children section of the Master Plan’s website.  

The MPELC was designed to offer a roadmap to expanding and improving California’s Early Learning and Care system over the next five to ten years. The vision of the MPELC is to:

  • Improve the life outcomes of infants and toddlers by providing comprehensive Early Learning and care.
  • Ensure that all families can easily identify and access a variety of quality Early Learning and care choices that fit the diverse needs of their children, their financial resources, and workday and nonstandard schedules.
  • Promote school readiness through preschool for all three-year-old children experiencing poverty and universally for all four-year-old children.
  • Advance better outcomes for all children by growing the quality, size, and stability of the Early Learning and care workforce through improved and accessible career pathways, competency-based professional development supports, and greater funding.

Key recommendations found in the Master Plan are outlined below. 

Read our other summaries to get a more in-depth look at the Master Plan’s recommendations for supporting California’s Dual Language Learners as well as recommendations impacting Family, Friend, and Neighbor providers

Universal Preschool

  • Create Universal Transitional Kindergarten for 4-year-olds starting with districts with the greatest number of low-income children.
    • Encourage and support community-based preschool programs that meet state requirements to offer state-funded preschool options. 
    • Programs should also offer mixed-delivery, extended-day services for income-eligible families and sliding-scale fee options to other families.
  • Expand state-subsidized preschool to all income-eligible 3-year-olds and 3-year-olds with disabilities.

Paid Family Leave

  • Increase wage reimbursement for lower-income workers and support small businesses to implement Paid Family Leave.

Dual Language Learners (DLLs)

  • Create legislation to identify and report language status of DLLs. 
  • Require specialized pre-service training and professional development to help teachers support DLLs.
  • Require bilingual teachers in schools with a significant percentage of DLLs who speak the same language.


  • Reform teacher training by moving from a system in which teachers must demonstrate completion of college coursework to a system in which teachers must demonstrate mastery of certain competencies. 
    • Align higher education with newly-developed competency performance measures.
    • Create alternative pathways to degrees to demonstrate mastery of competencies.
    • Develop accreditation process for teacher education programs. 
  • Create a career lattice with multiple entry points. 
  • Tie reimbursement rates to greater achievement of competencies.
  • Expand state financial support to teachers to pursue training and education.
  • Create Shared Service Networks to connect programs and provide business and educational support to family child care, FFNs, and small child care centers.

Reimbursement Rate

  • Create a single reimbursement rate that provides adjustments for regional cost of living, higher quality characteristics, and certain child characteristics (for example: infants/toddlers, DLLs, children with special needs). 
  • Create a sliding scale for parent fees.

Whole Child and Whole Family

  • Streamline family eligibility for services.
    • Create a centralized eligibility system.
  • Require greater training on implicit bias and positive discipline practices and do not permit suspensions or expulsions in publicly-funded Early Learning programs.
  • Require greater training to help teachers support children with special needs.
  • Require that 10% of subsidized slots be reserved for children with special needs.

Data Systems

  • Create an integrated cradle to career data system.
    • Create a public dashboard with information about program outcomes.
  • Create a parent portal to identify programs and choices.


  • Expand Early Learning and Care Infrastructure Grant.
  • Ensure that Zip Codes with highest need receive priority for facilities funding.
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