Montana Early Childhood Collective Impact Initiative

Early childhood is a critical period of learning and development, and early experiences lay a foundation for success in school and in life. Research shows that access to high-quality early learning promotes healthy socio-emotional development and helps to build a strong academic foundation as well as life skills that promote healthy living and economic opportunity.

In Montana, state government, philanthropy and local community organizations are striving to expand early learning opportunities. These efforts require collaboration and coordination to make change happen. Increasingly, Montana communities are turning to an advanced form of collaboration called collective impact to help multiple stakeholders align their efforts more effectively. Collective impact helps communities avoid working in “silos” – in isolation of one another’s efforts. Graduation Matters Montana (GMM), which resulted in record-breaking high school graduation rates, is referred to as a “nested collective impact” model.

The Montana Early Childhood Collective Impact Initiative was a two-year-long effort to leverage the lessons learned through GMM and national collective impact models to connect local communities working to expand access to early learning opportunities. Through a combination of outreach, training and convening, the Initiative helped to build a network of practitioners from multiple sectors working together to expand access to early learning in Montana.

Specifically, the Initiative (1) identifed and connected key stakeholders at the state, regional and community level to develop the strategic approach of Initiative; (2) conducted four regional workshops on collective impact with early learning stakeholders and practitioners; (3) built a network of Initiative contacts; (4) produced a Fall 2017 statewide MT Early Learning Collective Impact conference; and (5) identified other infrastructure needs for Initiative viability and growth.

The Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation underwrote this Initiative.

Montana Early Childhood Collective Impact Institute – October 24, 2017

Thank you to the over 125 early educators, health care professionals, community coalition leaders, parent advocates, funders and community builders who joined us for the Montana Early Childhood Collective Impact Institute.