SECTION 3: WORKING TOGETHER/TAKING ACTION

Public Education and Advocacy

These resources and tools are focused on support for cross system advocacy structures at the community level.

Tools:

  1. A Tool for Identifying Skills as an Early Childhood Education Advocate – This tool supports individuals in identifying the skills to increase their capacity for advocacy. The steps include identifying priority early childhood issues, assessing skills and seeing how those skills contribute to effective advocacy, matching skills to advocacy strategies and creating an advocacy action plan.
  2. Exploring Policy Levels – This resource offers guidance on policy work at multiple levels: institutional, local, and state, as key to improving community-level outcomes.
  3. Advocacy Toolkit: Promoting Quality Early Childhood Education – This toolkit includes resources to support effective outreach to decision makers and potential champions with the community and state. The toolkit includes three types of content: Tip Sheets are a collection of how-to’s on coalition-building and multiple aspects of media outreach; Templates follow the Tip Sheets such as an introductory e-mail for business leaders, press release, op-ed and letter to the editor that can be tailored to specific issues, legislation and policymakers; and, Leavebehinds/One-pagers, or materials to distribute at meetings, events or use internally to refine messaging.
  4. Early Childhood Advocacy Toolkit - This advocacy toolkit is designed to help parents, student groups, practitioners, and other advocates get involved in the public policy-making process by educating key audiences about, and developing support for, early childhood initiatives. Resources include education on advocacy work and how a bill becomes a law, federal and state legislation, working with the media and sample legislator outreach tools.
  5. Community Forum Toolkit – This toolkit provides guidance and resource templates for hosting a community forum. These resources focus on an event that will bring together candidates, state elected officials and communities to share ideas about issues that matter most to them.
  6. Tools on Recognizing and Engaging Allies – The tolls here focus on the role of allies in advocacy efforts. The first tool is an inventory of potential allies and why the issue may matter to them; the next tool assists in assessing the risks and benefits of engaging in the advocacy effort, for a given potential ally; and, the third tool assesses the power of a given potential ally and how this will impact the advocacy effort.
  7. Parents Across America Toolkit – This toolkit is targeted at parents and community members to support their advocacy efforts around education issues. The content includes strategies for engaging media and social media, organizing events and carrying out the advocacy work at the event.
  8. Mobilizing Kit for Parents and Teachers – This resource mobilizes parents and educators to rally to take action with well-reasoned arguments against inappropriate standards, assessments, and classroom practices and how these policies are affecting the education of young children. The kit includes a description of the resources necessary to host an informational meeting for the community.
  9. Setting a Direction for Early Childhood Leadership – This toolkit offers a capacity inventory for advocacy organizations. The inventory content has three sections: assessing the organization’s current leadership and capacity, analyzing the results of the assessment, and determining priorities for the organization to take action. The work of the inventory covers six critical elements that make an organization effective: vision, commitment, expertise, positioning, stakeholders and resources.
  10. Advocacy Training – This presentation is a sample of an advocacy training, this sample was created for a Board training.
  11. Advocacy Communication Samples
    1. Smart Investment Brochure – This example is a one pager from a Smart Start collaboration messaging the need for support of early learning.
    2. Return on Investment Descriptor – This descriptor supports advocacy efforts by educating on the returns on investment that come with early childhood services.
    3. Support for Responding to Questions about Early Childhood – This resource is s series of frequently asked questions on early childhood services and funding along with content to respond to the questions as part of advocacy work.
    4. Newspaper Article – This resource provides a sample of content on the importance of early childhood suited for publication in a newspaper.
    5. Advocacy Toolkit Iowa Part 10 – This toolkit section includes samples of numerous types of key advocacy communication: email or letter to legislators, testimony, thank you notes to legislators, press release, press briefing kit, and candidate forum resources.
    6. Letter to Parents – This resource is a sample of outreach to parents to engage them in advocacy work.
    7. Phone Script – This resource offers script sample for parents to use when calling a legislator, in this sample the issue was related to child care subsidy.
    8. Facebook Posts – This resource was built or a multi-media campaign around maintaining program funding in the state budget, the content includes a variety of posts suitable for use on Facebook.
    9. Tweets – This resources is a complementary piece of the same multi-media campaign and offers content appropriate for Twitter utilization.
  12. First 2000 Days Campaign Resources
    1. First 2000 Days Advocacy Toolkit – This toolkit focuses advocacy efforts around using the First 2000 Days Campaign and includes resources for events organized around an upcoming election.
    2. First 2000 Days Presentation – These tools include a presentation deck outlining key points of the First 2000 Days campaign; a companion guide to offer additional education for the presenter to utilize; and a tip sheet with additional guidance on making successful First 2000 Days presentations.
    3. First 2000 Days Communication Materials – These resources include a First 2000 Days brochure, a sample op ed article for use in a local newspaper, two sample letters to the editor, a handout targeted at the business community and a bulletin targeted at faith community.