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From the Ground Up: Improving Child Care and Early Learning Facilities

2023 Update

The physical settings in which children learn, play, and grow have an enormous impact on their development. High quality and developmentally appropriate early learning facilities promote healthy behaviors, independence, and strong social-emotional skills in young children. Quality environments lead to better outcomes. Yet, too often, the physical condition of child care facilities can be an afterthought.

The United States faces two core challenges: improving rundown child care facilities and building more child care programs.

Nearly 15 million children under age 6 live in households in which all parents work, leaving many of these children in need of quality child care. The physical infrastructure of these spaces has been long neglected, and parents are forced to place their children in substandard settings. Our nation’s young children cannot wait, we need greater investments in early learning infrastructure now.

This catalog provides examples of federal-, state-, and local-level models across government, philanthropy, and public-private partnerships investing in child care and early learning facilities improvements.

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