Scope of Early Learning & Development

There’s never been a more urgent need to inspire, create and support communities focused on the well-being of our youngest citizens…’

– Early Learning Nation

Learning and development are multidimensional and take place within many settings and contexts.

Our goal is to ensure the scope of resources available to families with young children is sufficiently broad to accommodate differing needs and desires, and to collaborate with all families to achieve their goals for their children.

While we need to continue pursuing efforts to ensure a system of high quality, affordable child care opportunities, we must encourage and create additional family-, school-, and community-based options as important parts of the early learning and development landscape.


Community Survey

Recent interviews with VT families suggested that their vision for communities that are supportive of young children’s learning and development includes things beyond having their childcare needs met. Please help the Turrell Fund’s Early Learning & Development Exchange initiative ( better understand the spaces in your Vermont communities that you feel support the learning and development of our youngest children (ages zero to five).

Take Survey Now

Report Findings

Where are the Children?

It began as a question “Where are the Children?” when the pandemic forced almost all early care and education programs (except for those caring for children of essential workers) to cease operating in March 2020. Mark Sustic and Susan Torncello decided to connect with early educators throughout Vermont to examine their enrollment numbers – pre-pandemic and then periodically throughout the year through October. Our findings, noted below, led to follow-up interviews with some of the families of those children. As families shared their hopes and dreams for their children it became apparent that their vision was beyond childcare needs. This led us to “the scope of early learning and development”.


Enrollment Data
Family Interviews

Resource Library

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The Daily Show features Angela Garbes’ recent book 'Essential Labor: Mothering as Social Change', highlighting how mothering is arguably the only essential work humans do and the increasing weight placed on mothers and caregivers. Garbes discusses how mothering extends beyond the idea of being a mother, and explains how without domestic care and labor, all other work is not possible.
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Parents are the best experts on what their young children need to thrive.

The EC-LINC Parent Leader Network (PLN) provides a space for parents to collaborate with and support each other, represent parent perspectives, and advocate for parent voice and leadership in early childhood systems. Harnessing the power of parents and giving them the space and support to share their expertise, wisdom, and knowledge helps ensure that children, youth, and families are at the center of our work.
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