Early Learning: The NJ Build Intiative

Goal: Finding ways to construct stronger early learning systems in order to prepare children for a successful future

The Build Initiative

This initiativeis a multi-state partnership created to help states find ways to build stronger early learning systems. Build envisions a system that is responsive to the needs of families and effective in preparing our youngest children for a successful future.

Build operates in eight states: New Jersey, Illinois, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, New York, and Washington.  ACNJ leads the Build NJ Initiative.

Working together, the Build New Jersey team has developed a blueprint to build a stronger early learning system in New Jersey.

What are the Build Initiatives Goals?

Build NJ aims to ensure that every family with infants and young children has access to comprehensive, high-quality, early learning opportunities. It has six goals:

Provide Access. All families must have access to quality early learning programs and services, including health care, parenting support, child care and preschool. Programs must be affordable and located where parents can get to them easily.

Ensure Quality. Early learning programs must be of the highest quality. This is key to ensuring children’s healthy growth and development.

Support Parents. Parents must be supported in their role as their child’s first and best teachers. Engaging and supporting parents is vital to a strong early learning system.

Train and Support Professionals. Early care and education professionals must be adequately prepared and compensated. Have well-trained professionals is critical to ensuring program quality. Adequate compensation is essential to maintaining a stable work force.

Coordinate Systems. Early care and education cuts across several domains: health care, child care, education and parent support. These must be coordinated more effectively to improve quality, expand access and ensure a comprehensive approach to supporting the development of young children. This will build better programs and maximize return on taxpayer dollars.

Educate the Public. All New Jersey residents must recognize the value of early care and education for children and the state. A public information campaign about the importance of early learning can educate parents and inform the public.

What has Build NJ Accomplished?

Build NJ helped the state take substantial steps forward in:

  • Workforce and professional development
  • Improving the quality of the child care system
  • Supporting and educating infant and toddler caregivers
  • Supporting families with young children
  • Expanding high-quality preschool to all children of low-income families