This year, 2023, marks the 70th year that Early Childhood Alliance (ECA) has supported families and providers in Northeast Indiana. I try to let that sink in, but to truly grasp the thousands of people that have accessed ECA’s services and resources is mind-boggling. Reflecting upon the number of staff who have dedicated their careers to children and families in our community makes me extremely proud. There are not enough ways to say thank you to our donors who have invested hard-earned dollars into supporting our organization.
Our nationally accredited learning programs in Fort Wayne and Warsaw provide high-quality, economically accessible care and education for children ages 0-5. Did you know that 90% of a child’s brain develops before age five? We take this seriously and our amazing staff utilizes a research-based learning approach that meets every child at their developmental level. We partner with families to ensure every young child has the opportunity to develop into a confident, curious, and friendly individual.
ECA knows that for many providers, childcare is a calling, and those who operate programs are understandably most concerned with the direct care of children. However, running a childcare program is also running a business, which can be a challenge for anyone. ECA’s Shared Services Network helps childcare providers with software, education, and a network of peers that help them successfully manage the business aspects of their programs. Help from the Shared Services Network helps childcare providers become sustainable businesses that can spend more time focusing on the care and education of children.
ECA is the proud sponsor of the CACFP. Nutritious, balanced meals are a fundamental need for all children. Children must have the food they need to support their growing minds and bodies. With CACFP, childcare providers throughout Indiana are subsidized for healthy meals and snacks they provide to the children in their care. We work alongside providers to guide them through the application and documentation required for this program so they can spend more time focusing on the health and wellness of the children and families they serve.
The CDA program enables teachers at childcare facilities earn a nationally recognized Child Development Associate Credential, in a format that accommodates their work schedule. The credential furthers their careers in education, increases their earning potential, encourages them to stay within the education field, and, most importantly, equips them with the knowledge and skills to provide the best care and education for young children. The greater the number of teachers with CDAs in our region, the better the overall quality of childcare will be.
ECA is dedicated to our community. We are proud of our 70 years and are working hard to ensure at least 70 more. Together, with you, we will help build better futures for young children for decades to come.