Action needed on Early Learning Budget Items- LEARN MORE NOW
Early learning advocates from across the state met with legislators earlier this month to talk about the importance of funding supports for our state's families.

Late last week the Washington State House and Senate released their budget proposals and NEITHER of them are making childcare more affordable for working families. While we applaud the Washington State House of Representatives for their inclusion of increased pay for family home childcare providers, the budget proposals falls short in supporting children and families with access to affordable, high-quality early learning like preschool and childcare. Washington families stand to lose access to affordable early learning options without greater commitment from lawmakers today.

Working Connections Child Care bridges the gap between the high cost of care and tight family budgets. But a waiting list scheduled to start this summer will prevent thousands of children from getting positive outcomes from early childhood education and hurt parents' ability to work. 

The budget is currently be negotiated and this is our chance to get our voices heard. Below are 3 ways to take action today. Please share!
  1. Please fill out and share this action alert from the Children's Alliance about preventing a waiting list for Working Connections Child Care.
  2. Please fill out and share this action alert from MomsRising encouraging legislators to prioritize high quality early learning in the budget.
  3. Please call the legislative hotline at 1-800-562-6000 1-800-562-6000 to tell them you would like your lawmakers to add $2 million to the budget for 192 homeless children currently on the waitlist for ECEAP.
Tonight! March 2nd!
Resources and Job Announcements
Funding opportunities *NEW* 
Each year, DEL offers funding opportunities to community organizations whose work promotes the protective factors among families and communities. DEL is requesting letters of interest from Washington organizations that are engaged in child abuse prevention. If you are interested please fill out the Letter of Interest (LOI) and submit it to by March 11, 2016. 
Click for Letter of Interest  
I-LABS On-line training!

I-LABS is building an online library of resources for early learning professionals, parents, caregivers, policymakers, and interested community members.
The online training modules are designed to share the latest science of child development with the broader community. Each module explores a particular topic of science, such as early brain development, children's imitation, or language acquisition, and nests it within the larger landscape of child development. All modules are free and are designed to be useful for both everyday interactions with children and for informing systems-level programs and policies.
Information sheets for a variety of child behaviors, several languages, tips for parents and providers from the Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development 
Job Posting: Parent-Child Assistance Program (PCAP) Research Advocates
Share this posting: Assistance Superintendent of Early Learning at Capital Region ESD 113
Click here for Job Announcement

The Spanish/Bilingual Learning and Playing (LeaP) class is designed to provide parents and their children, birth through four, an opportunity to grow and learn together. VEL is continues its funding commitment to LEaP in 2016.
Villa los Milagros and Villa San Juan Bautista are Catholic Community affordable housing communities for low income migrant and farm workers. Over the past year, both communities have invited Centralia College Child and Family Studies to hold LeaP classes in their community rooms. Both classes have continued because of the expressed need of the parents in the class.
2015 Program Successes
Over the quarter parents became more and more comfortable playing with the children in the classroom setting and indicated that they now played with their children at home as well.
Two of the adult students attending the Tuesday morning program have children with disabilities. This class offers an opportunity for these mothers and children to be in a natural classroom that includes typically developing children and children with disabilities. The instructor, who is the parent of a child with disabilities, is able to model language and behavior that supports these parents and children.

The children were actively engaged in activities and pulled their parents into play as modeled by the instructor and her assistant.

Parents shared experiences and talked about struggles they were dealing with in raising their children. Often they were able to problem-solve situations as they discussed development and guidance of young children each session.
Thursday mornings, parents and instructor met the first 20-30 minutes to talk about child development and guidance. To have this parent time, two Early Childhood Education Specialists were hired to be with the children in another area of the room. This worked quite well and students said the time was valuable.  
Parents had many questions and concerns about child guidance. A number of them had come from backgrounds where corporal punishment was used. The parent time offered an opportunity to talk about positive redirection, limits, choices and problem solving as parenting alternatives to corporal punishment. Parents stated that this was very beneficial.
Professional Development
Visions for Early Learning Professional Development Lending Library
Partner agencies now have access to Vision's lending library of high quality training materials for Home Visitors and other early learning professionals from Zero to Three, as well as continued access to Dr. Donna's Beegle's See Poverty, Be the Difference DVD and guidebook, 

Train with us!
VEL's Regional Home Visiting Cohor
continues it's commitment to professional development and community of practice building in 2016 with a new quarterly series of free one-day trainings for home visiting professionals.
Tentative Training dates are:
Feb 26, May 23, and mid-November.
VEL's first annual Home Visiting/Leadership Summer Institute is scheduled for July 22, 2016.
Advancing Racial Equity
Are we failing our region's children of color? Accept this call to action and join our conversation at VEL's first annual Advancing Racial Equity Community Engagement Summit on May 3rd, 2016, and deepen your knowledge during our  
2016 Advancing Racial Equity workshop series,
July 13 and August 18th.
VEL is excited to be able to offer Advancing Racial Equity Action Plan Mini-grants to graduates of the Advancing Racial Equity series. Contact Project Coordinator Jane Partridge to become more involved in our region's work around race. 

Click here to see the flyer for our 2016 summer Equity series, registration to open by March, 2016. And watch for updates on our May 3rd Summit!
Opportunities for early learning professionals, families and care givers to m ake a difference 
VEL's Community Events and Opportunities for Families page is updated as often as we receive flyers! Agencies are invited to submit PDF's or JPEG images of flyers for posting on our website!

Families and caregivers that participate in one of our VEL funded family engagement activities across the region are invited to:

Participate in a quick 11 question, multiple choice survey to share with us your thoughts on our Hank and Harriet video (click here to check it out!) as well as any other VEL Family Engagement Activity you may have participated in. VEL is committed to creating user-friendly feedback loops between families/caregivers and our local and regional coalitions...and to using that input when creating and funding new opportunities for families and caregivers. Contact for our survey translated into other languages.
BE INVOLVED, Make a Difference
VEL Board Representatives and Visions Work Team members make a difference. Consider becoming a driving force within and behind VEL's work within our region, increasing engagement with families, addressing equity issues of race and poverty, increasing access to services, and providing supports to early learning professionals who directly impact our region's youngest learners and families. Talk to your local coalition chair or VEL Executive Committee Representative for more information on upcoming bi-monthly meetings.

Partner agencies are invited to submit PDF's of local events and employment opportunities that may be of interest to coalition members to Project Coordinator Jane Partridge at for consideration for future publication in the monthly VEL newsletter.