Early Childhood forum photo

Education: Early Childhood

Our Vision

Our vision for the Early Childhood strategy is that all children in Greater Boston are prepared to thrive in school and life.

Our three primary areas of focus include: promoting pediatric parent engagement, supporting a high-quality pre-K workforce, and strengthening the early childhood ecosystem.

  Our Approach

Birth to Age 3:
Pediatric Parent Engagement

Ages 3 to 5:
High Quality pre-K

Birth to Age 8:
Supporting the early childhood ecosystem

Programming note: As it has since the beginning of the pandemic, our Early Childhood Coffee and Conversations series is continuing online, as we focus on the impact of the pandemic and continuing disruptions on early childhood and the future of early education. Click here to watch past series events and learn about upcoming topics.

Pediatric Parent Engagement

Birth-Age 3: Engaging parents and caregivers of children birth to age 3 by leveraging pediatric care teams

Baby photo

Over 90% of families attend the majority of their well-child pediatric visits. The pediatric care setting represents an opportunity to connect families to information and resources to support their child’s healthy development. Integrating behavioral and mental health services into the pediatric practice will ensure that children have access to the programs they need to thrive and counteract the effect of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). A coordinated system of care will increase child readiness for success in the most critical years of life.  

Investments in this area will support implementation of effective pediatric parent engagement programs and advocacy for sustainable funding for these programs.

High-quality pre-K

Ages 3-5: Expanding access to high-quality pre-K by investing in the workforce

Grandmother toddler photo

Birth to age 3 orbits around pediatric care. As children age, the center shifts from healthcare to education, but the mission remains the same – to ensure that children are prepared to succeed academically and socioemotionally. High-quality pre-K leads to stronger child outcomes. As we have learned through our Early Childhood Research Roundtable series, quality begins with the workforce. To strengthen the educator pre-service and in-service preparation and development and capitalize on the field’s diversity, we will invest in programs that improve early childhood pedagogy, support the diverse early childhood workforce, and develop early childhood leaders. 

Investments in this area will support programs that drive strong instructional quality through increased access to professional development and learning for early childhood educators and leaders, including support for strengthening providers’ business practices. In the long term, this includes advocating for a financial model that supports affordable, sustainable, high-quality options that serve families’ needs without compromising on quality or diversity for three- and four-year-old children across Massachusetts.

Supporting the early childhood ecosystem

Ecosystem: Strengthening the early childhood infrastructure from birth to age 8

teacher in elementary school

The early childhood field is not a single field stretching across multiple sectors, including healthcare and education. Healthy child development must be seamlessly centered on children and families, which requires sustainable, sufficient funding.

Investments in will focus on advocacy to increase attention and funding for the field, with a goal of enlisting business, civic, and political leaders as champions and advocates for young children. We expect this will lead to an increase in high-quality services and improved provider solvency. This will allow more families to access and afford high-quality care and services for their young children.

Eary Childhood Coffee and Conversation

The Boston Foundation is committed to work that will support high-quality early childhood education and care to ensure that our youngest residents are prepared to thrive in school and life.

We are grateful to the donor partners who are the thought partners and funding partners that continue to comprise our TBF Early Childhood Funding Collaborative, and look forward to continuing our learning journey together through our convenings, including the Coffee & Conversations and Early Childhood Research Roundtable series.

Together, we can ensure a bright future for Greater Boston’s children.

For more information about the Boston Foundation's Early Childhood strategy, or to learn more about how to support our work as a donor, please e-mail us at earlychildhood@tbf.org.