Building an Early Learning Continuum

Building an Early Learning Continuum

You are receiving our Early Learning New Mexico eNewsletter. You may have explored but you may still be wondering ... What exactly is Early Learning NM?

Early Learning New Mexico is:

  • Building a continuum of high quality, early learning opportunities for young children so that they enter kindergarten ready for success – ready to thrive! These early learning experiences begin prenatally through the early years. They comprise of both home-based services including home visiting and early intervention (FIT Program) and classroom based learning including: child care; Head Start; preschool special education; and PreK in order to meet the needs of children and their families. Early Learning NM is bringing together everyone that works on behalf of New Mexico’s young children– agencies and organizations, providers and families – for a common purpose. We are aligning action and shifting the way we relate to and interact with one another to produce the best outcomes for children. Through the Race To the Top – Early Learning Challenge grant we have established a shared governance structure for Early Learning NM across the Public Education Department, Children Youth and Families Department and the Department of Health.

    This graphic shows the early learning services available by age in New Mexico. For more information:
  • Helping families find quality early learning opportunities. We are developing a streamlined way for families to find out about early learning services in their community. This will include a toll-free line for families to call find out about early learning options in their community. Families will also be able to search online by simply entering their address or zip code to see on a map and learn about early learning programs within a selected distance of their home. We’ll also have a brochure and other materials that will help families to access early learning services, including how the FOCUS star quality rating system can help them access quality early services for their child and family.
  • Supporting early learning programs to increase the quality of services provided to children and families based on clear quality standards. We are building a FOCUS Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System that includes coaches to support local early learning program to meet these quality standards and are supporting early childhood personnel (teachers, home visitors, interventionists) to improve their practices through scholarships to get a degree and workshops to support their professional development. FOCUS will help us increase quality early learning across programs and across state agencies

  • Providing information and accountability to funders, policy makers, stakeholders and the public. We are building an Early Childhood Integrated Data System using a single identifier for each child served that will enable us to report across early learning programs, as well as over time e.g. how do children who receive quality early learning experiences do when they enter Kindergarten (measured through our new Kindergarten Observation Tool), at 3rd grade or at graduation. We will utilize data visualization including maps, graphs and a dashboard of key data.


Learning About Early Learning

Brain Science— Early experiences affect the development of brain architecture, which provides the foundation for all future learning, behavior, and health.

Harvard University Center on the Developing Child

Research has shown that the early years in a child’s life—when the human brain is forming—represent a critically important window of opportunity to develop a child’s full potential and shape key academic, social, and cognitive skills that determine a child’s success in school and in life.

White House Early Learning

Getting ready for school begins at birth “Most parents watch proudly as their 5-year-old grabs her backpack and heads out the door to her first day of kindergarten—her “official” start into the world of education and learning. Few might imagine that their child has actually been preparing for this day since she first opened her eyes”.

“Getting Ready for School Begins at Birth"

There are only 2,000 days between the time a baby is born and when he or she will begin kindergarten. During that time brain architecture is forming, creating either a strong or weak foundation for all future learning. Child development is a dynamic, interactive process that is not predetermined. It occurs in the context of relationships, experiences and environments. Harvard University neuroscientist Jack Shonkoff puts it this way, “brains are built not born.”

First 2,000 Days
(North Carolina)