5 Easy Action Steps for Early Childhood Advocates

By Dawn Wilkinson and Melissa Larson Busby | February 27, 2018

Just how hard is it to take action in our role as early childhood advocates?

We’re busy. We have lives, we work in our profession every single day. We work with infants and toddlers, teach pre-school, direct a center, or educate the professionals of tomorrow. 

Many of us already consider ourselves to be early childhood advocates.

But taking action as an early childhood advocate? Speaking out, contacting legislators, publicly taking a stand? At first, that may sound overwhelming, time-consuming — even intimidating.

It doesn’t have to be!

On February 15, we partnered with SAzAEYC VP of Public Policy and Awareness Monica Brinkerhoff to present Your Advocacy Journey to a standing room only crowd at the AZECA sponsored Early Childhood Legislative Day, held at the Arizona State Capitol

We were wowed by a packed house and truly honored to spread our message. We talked about a variety of ways early childhood advocates could take action at the local, state and national levels. As we presented that day, we watched as everyone in the room took notes and listened with great intention.

Our next step? We decided right then and there to share this tip list far and wide. Even if you only act on ONE single step from the list below, you’ll help advance policy and increase investments for early childhood education and let our elected officials know that early childhood education matters. That’s important! 

1) Vote, Vote, VOTE!

According to the United States Election Project, the 2014 election was the lowest turnout election since 1942. The Voter Participation Center (VPC) a non-profit and non-partisan organization, predicts that 40 million Americans who voted in 2016 won’t cast a ballot in the 2018 midterms. Two thirds of those “drop-off voters” will be members of the “Rising American Electorate,” or voters that include unmarried women, people of color, and millennials. In 2014, over 75 million RAE members didn’t vote. The RAE drop-off is projected to be particularly pronounced in key 2018 battleground states, such as Arizona, Nevada, Florida, and Ohio.

ARE YOU REGISTERED TO VOTE? Maybe you haven’t voted in a while, you’ve moved, you just never got around to registering. Do you need to take I.D.? Where is your polling place?

Find out the answers to all of these questions at Vote411.org,a website project of the League of Women Voters. 

Need more detailed, Arizona-specific information? Find links to Arizona Election Laws & Publications via the office of the Arizona Secretary of State.

2) Participate in your professional organization

Connect with your fellow educators, advocates, and policy makers to advance policy and increase investment for early childhood education and educators. Stay up to date with what is going on in our profession!

Join AzAEYC/NAEYC for regular updates on policy positions via e-letter and social media platforms.

America for Early Ed

NAEYC: Build your public policy knowledge

Power to the Profession 

3) Connect with other Arizona Early Childhood organizations

Follow these Arizona based organizations on social media and join mailing lists for action alerts. 

Stay educated, aware, keep up to date on our profession in and around Arizona. 

Children’s Action Alliance Advocacy Toolkit

Expect More Arizona: Take Action

First Things First: Connect, Take Action

Stand for Children

Check AzAEYC’s Advocacy and Policy page as we continue to update our listings of state and national early childhood organizations. Find an organization we should know about? Contact us

 4) Connect with National Organizations

Follow these national organizations on social media and join mailing lists for action alerts.  

Child Care Aware of America 

Children’s Defense Fund

First Five Years Fund

First Focus Campaign for Children: Bill Tracker

Zero to Three 

5) Engage with Local, State, and National Lawmakers

Connect with lawmakers on social media.Comment when you can and at your comfort level. Or connect by phone, email or snail mail. Not sure which member represents your district? Click on the links below. 

Contact list of Arizona State Legislature Senate members

Contact list of Arizona State Legislature House members

Contact U.S. Senators from Arizona

Contact U.S. Representatives from Arizona

Interactive Map of Arizona U.S. Congressional Districts

 

“I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything; but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”

-Edward Everett Hale 

Dawn Wilkinson is the Executive Director of AzAEYC. Melissa Larson Busby serves as president of the AzAEYC Board, and is the Director of Early Childhood Education at Central Arizona College.