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E. Take Inventory

Once you have examined the research and consulted with members of your community, it is time to start translating your ideas and all that you have learned into concrete actions that will focus your efforts.

Step one in this process is to take inventory of the early childhood services that already exist in your area. As you will have no doubt already discovered from talking with members in your community, there may already be multiple providers offering early care and education services to children and families. Conducting a “needs assessment” that includes information about these programs as well as data on the characteristics of young children and families in the area will help boards to determine where resources are most likely to be needed and used. Such information may help to identify potential partners, underserved populations, or which facilities to use. By understanding the unique assets and needs of the community, school leaders can promote strategies that will maximize resources.

Much of the information that districts will need may be readily available through the school district, state, or county office. However, other important information may need to be collected. There are several excellent resources available to assist boards in conducting a needs assessment, including a comprehensive worksheet in the Tool Box below.

We gratefully acknowledge The Pew Charitable Trusts for its support of our work related to pre-kindergarten. The views expressed are those of the Center for Public Education and not necessarily those of The Pew Charitable Trusts.

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